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Schultz Creek Winter Tour, AZ
mini location map2018-02-24
9 by photographer avatararizona_water
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Schultz Creek Winter Tour, AZ 
Schultz Creek Winter Tour, AZ
 
Snowshoeing avatar Feb 24 2018
arizona_water
Snowshoeing13.58 Miles 1,978 AEG
Snowshoeing13.58 Miles   6 Hrs   4 Mns   2.47 mph
1,978 ft AEG      34 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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I got a late start out of Phoenix, and by the time I arrived at Snowbowl both parking lots were full. Any sort of winter backcountry travel from Snowbowl is best started prior to 5:00am. Unable to begin my planned route from the Kachina Trail, I parked at Schultz Pass Road instead. The snow from Friday night's storm was still pretty decent on Saturday morning. It quickly became apparent that the sun was on a mission to undo all of winter's efforts. The snow became warm and sticky, and at mile three, I took off my cross country skis and swapped them out for snowshoes.

I attached my skis to the back of my pack and continued my climb, with a goal of reaching the Kachina/Weatherford trail junction. I left the road at the Orion Spring Canyon, following what appeared to be a well-maintained hiking trail. After another mile, the Weatherford was found, and the incline increased. I dropped my skis, geo-tagged the location, and continued the climb. After arriving at my turnaround point, I was in awe of how quickly the snow around me was disappearing. I was a little worried about the return journey, but figured there should still be enough snow to manage.

Back at my ski drop point, I returned my snowshoes to my pack and clipped in to the skis...and had a nice downhill ride all the way to Schultz Tank. One of my poles broke towards the end of that first drop back to the road, which sucked, but I was able to make-do by using it upside down (pointy side up was probably a dangerous idea :lol: ).

I continued skiing back down Schultz Road, but after a quarter mile, I saw that my fears were confirmed. Dry patches everywhere. I worked meticulously to stay on whatever little patch of snow I could find. The good news was that the afternoon light had refrozen the crust of the remaining snow, making the skiing more efficient. The last 1.5 miles were too muddy and snow-free for skiing, so I walked back to my vehicle, skis under my arm.

Overall, it was fun to take advantage of an increasingly rare winter hydrological event. I'm keeping my eye out for the next opportunity. Kachina Peaks Wilderness is always rewarding.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Schultz Creek Light flow Light flow
flow from melted snow
_____________________
- there's nothing like finding Water in the Desert -
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