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Pinaleno Car Camp, AZ
mini location map2012-08-17
21 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Pinaleno Car Camp, AZ 
Pinaleno Car Camp, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 17 2012
 no routes
1st trip
Hadn't been up into the Pinalenos yet this summer, so when I saw a Phoenix group was going there (and didn't have a ton of people), I signed up. Left Tucson around noon Friday and rolled into Columbine Corral CG about 4 and set up in site #3. Though there was heavy moisture in the air from rains earlier in the day, things were dissipating with just a few sprinkles. Stayed quiet the rest of the night. Parked the truck at 4 o'clock and didn't move it again until I left at noon Sunday! Sure don't do that very often when I'm out and about. It was nice just hanging out in one area for a couple of days.

Relaxed during the evening, grilling sausages and enjoying beer. Walked over to the parking lot by the work center a couple of times after dark to look at the sky. I wondered when the Phoenix contingent would arrive. Thought they might show around 7, but not so. By 9 o'clock I figured they might have cancelled due to low turnout (or the ominous flash flood watch that was in effect at the time). I always get a kick out of those flash flood watches; around here it frequently translates into a non-event. :lol: There was a curious skunk checking out my camp that provided some extra entertainment. I was just about to call it a night when the group rolled in at 10 o'clock. They set up, got a fire going, and we sat around until about 1 AM. Guess the hike to Ash Creek Falls wasn't going to be early. :lol: Fine by me. Right after retiring to the tents, I heard what sounded like a large animal getting into something over by the others. Saw the flashlight beams and heard someone say, "Don't make it mad!" (or something like that) Found out in the morning it was two skunks fighting over some stuff left out right by their tents. :o Luckily no spraying!

Saturday we hiked down to Ash Creek Falls, with Charles going well beyond that solo, while the rest of us returned to camp. Such a pretty hike in the summer. Charles got back to camp in early evening from his long hike (about 4500 feet down and back up). I grilled pork ribs and did a stir fry (with Hatch chiles thrown in for heat) on the stove for my evening meal. After I got everything cleaned up and put away, I walked over to join the others around their fire. Charles had planned on doing a spooky night hike to the Webb Peak tower at 11 PM in the new moon darkness, but nobody else wanted to go. Turns out that wouldn't have worked anyway.

After it got dark we were treated to a heck of a light show from thunderstorms that stretched in the distance from the north to east to southeast! Couldn't see the cloud to ground strikes because of being in the trees, but many cells were really putting out the lightning! It started out clear above us around sundown, but clouds were increasing by the time we headed for the tents (early at about 9 o'clock). About that time thunder could be heard to the northeast, so it was looking like we might get some rain after all. I like it when the storms allow you to get your evening activities in hassle free! :)

The storms cut loose over the mountain between 9 and 11 PM. The lightning was pretty intense (especially "in tents" :lol: ). Normally I get out of the tent and into the vehicle when it gets this bad, but this time I decided to not get soaked, and stayed in the sleeping bag. That was definitely the strongest thunderstorm I ever rode out in a tent. It was a little scary and very exciting! :scared: :o By 1130 the storms were rolling off the mountain toward the southwest. Quiet the rest of the night. Only a few drops of water got in the tent, so that was good. Same for the others. When I got home I checked the weather observations for the Columbine RAWS (over by the nearby work center) and found out we got 0.75 inch of rain. Not bad!

The others broke camp and headed out for Phoenix fairly early Sunday, while I goofed off and made a nice breakfast and slowly put my stuff away. By doing that I was able to get everything dry and save myself extra work when I got home. :y:

This was a very enjoyable camping adventure! :D
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