When I heard that they were going to close Coronado NF, I knew that it was imperative that I get up to Lemmon Pools for one last float before I have to start getting creative with my summer hikes. The day before the closure, my pool-hiking partner in crime Wendy and I got an early start with the intent of spending the entire day on the mountain. We parked at the top and took a very windy Lemmon Rock Tr. down, starting at 8:30am. It was surprisingly clear in the morning, the smoke from the Murphy and Horseshoe 2 fires was not visible. We reached the pools at 10:30 and it was striking how low they were. At least a foot and a half lower than the last couple of times I've been here. Which was kind of good, because it meant that the water wasn't as cold as usual either. The weather was a little cool for swimming, so we spent several hours just hanging out, enjoying the surroundings, napping, looking at maps, and reading books that we'd brought.
Finally around 2pm, even though it wasn't really that hot out, we decided that it would be a shame to leave without going for a float. I spent most of the time in the "punchbowl" ricocheting myself off the sides like a pinball.
Lemmon Pools is great for the floatie because you don't have to get your whole body in the chilly water. Finally, at almost 3pm, we left our watery paradise and started our hike out. Temperatures were perfect and we were surprised to not have to use our umbrellas. Instead of taking the same way out, we took the Wilderness of Rock to Marshall Saddle and the Aspen Tr. and powerline back to our car. I've got to admit, the hike out was a bit of a slog. I hadn't gone on a "real" hike for about a month because of my river trip and I could definitely tell. It was windy and almost cold on our hike out and we got back to the car 10 hours after we'd started. It makes me sad that the forest has to close because idiots were not paying attention to fire restrictions, but if that's what it takes to keep the mountain from burning up, so be it.