Sometimes what you do plan doesn't go well and sometimes when you don't plan at all everything unfolds perfectly. This trip started as the former and ended up as the latter.
The snow accumulation north of the valley was no secret in its coming. Snow sticks and webcams were overrun with valley trip planners all week in anticipation. I had originally planned to bring someone up with me for her to see snow for the first time in years. Everything looked good for it until uncontrolled circumstances kept her in town. My friend Bob and I had been talking about it all and he asked if I still wanted to go. Not a fan of change, I wasn't sure since the agenda had been scratched. That clean of a slate with no clear plan? I just didn't know.
Thursday some new ideas came and Bob and I decided to take his truck and just head north anyway. Since conditions were changing by the minute, I just met him Saturday morning and we began driving. I checked in with a friend by phone who let us know a mudslide was going to keep us off the 87. No problem, we adjust course to the 17 even though reports of it being closed in some spots were still floating around on the news sites. We had packed up extra clothes, shovels, and even sleeping bags for an uncertain journey to the snow country to explore and to attempt to succeed in a genius scheme.
We first spotted snow before the descent down into Camp Verde (about 4700 feet). As we drove down, it disappeared until we regained that elevation further along. The snow line was well defined and once we reached it again its depth became almost instantly impressive. It was easily 2-3 feet everywhere we looked, and in some spots drifted over covering the top of the barbwire fences (4 feet) in the distance. The roads had been cleared a few times before we came through but since the temperature was staying at 25, it didn't take long for ice to reform. A few times we felt the truck come around a little, but nothing to scary if you were ready for it.
We made it to Flag and decided to continue on to the ghost town of Two Guns. The snow in the high desert thinned out down to 6 inches but still covered everything in sight. This made our adventure at Two Guns quite nice as the white blanket crept alongside the old structures and graffitied walls. We explored around the newer buildings at first taking note of the colorful artwork on every surface. Bruce Lee had many appearances as did all kinds of stenciled animals, stormtroopers, cartoon characters, many spliced together in every which way. As we explored, a wall slid open above us and a drifter poked his toothless gray bearded head out and bid us goodmorning. We ended up talking for quite a while as he gave us detailed history of the surrounding area, the parties involved, who shot whom, etc, and his thoughts on the real stories involved.
After we left his home we went over to the dilapidated stone structures where the old zoo use to be. We climbed around, looked at the cave, and the canyon below all while leaving the first tracks in the snow of the day. We did drive a few miles down the road to the Meteor Crater but upon arriving and discovering the fee was $15 per person we decided to pass and headed back to Flag for some food.
Back in the snow we set about putting our secret plan into motion and got the shovels out.
An hour later, Bob's truck bed was packed full of white tamped down Phoenix Gold and we were coming back down the hills towards home.
I made a call to make sure someone was occupied, then we gave the snow a new home on her second floor balcony. An hour and half later, we had finally gotten it all up. We lay in wait for their return and as they mounted the stairs and stopped dead looking awkwardly around - POW! In The Face! We ended up having a snow ball fight for 2hrs after with her and her son where I was gotten back repeatedly.