Lead a group of eight hikers from the Jamboree into the crazy Wilderness of Rocks... We descended the Mt. Lemmon trail and came back out the Lemmon Rock trail, which I've decided is the much easier way to do this hike. Not only is the Mt. Lemmon trail less steep, but the views are so fantastic, that it's best to enjoy them while you're not cursing up hill at over 7k elevation!
The heavy snows and big storms of the winter decimated the dead trees in the Aspen Fire burn - we spent almost as much time crawling over and under downed logs as we did walking. In some cases, the trees across the trail were so thick that new trail routes had started to form going around them because it was almost impossible to get through the mess without injury. The winds were gusty, but not terrible, most of the day, and with the heat in Wilderness of Rocks, the breeze was actually a welcome relief.
There was a good amount of water in Lemmon Creek, and isolated pockets in the smaller creeks along the basin. Very few wildflowers at this point - I'm not sure they're going to get much up there, either. I just didn't see the sprouting activity that I would have expected. Maybe much later in the year because the snow lingered so long, but I suspect that they'll burn off before they can do much.
When we hit the base of the hill, the wind picked up once again (I don't think I've ever hiked on that trail when it wasn't windy), and so did the downed trees. To be honest, though, it wasn't as bad as when I hiked it April of last year. This could be due to the fact that I had not just finished hiking 50 miles in 5 days, or it could be that the blow down was less severe this year, I'll never know. However, the trail is there and you can follow it the whole way if you've got some tenacity and drive. Angela demonstrated both admirably as we climbed the hill, though I suspect she was shouting curses at me under her breath. I'm sure she'll see it all as a wonderful memory in time
I had my hiking dogs along - or at least my hiking dog and my little-dog-who-tried. It was funny to see the spunky little guy toward the end of the hike when he'd stop, look up at a log or rock he'd have to jump over, sigh heavily, then leap. I carried him in my pack for a little bit, just to give him a rest, but I'm sure it was the canine equivalent of machismo which kept him going. I think he's still asleep trying to recover. Lilo, on the other hand, was asking what's next before we even got back to camp. Such a champ!
The Jamboree was a great success, if a tad lower in attendance than I'd hoped. I think it'll become a wonderful tradition - it really was a perfect time to be chillin' with friends up on the mountain!