|Kachina Weatherford Humphreys, AZ|
|Kachina Weatherford Humphreys, AZ|| |
Kachina Weatherford Humphreys, AZ
|Hiking||21.23 Miles|| 8 Hrs 20 Mns ||2.69 mph|
|5,051 ft AEG|| 26 Mns Break|
|I don't know what made me think of this, but sometime yesterday afternoon I got it in my head it would be fun. I checked some recent photos to see what the Wednesday snowfall had done on the peaks, and it looked like the upper Snowslide Canyon traverse would be quite manageable, having melted noticeably since my Agassiz trip 3 weeks ago.|
I opted for the Joe and Bruce plan, starting on Kachina to avoid the cf that is 151 on a weekend morning. That turned out great.
Kachina was clear sailing. The aspens haven't leafed and the grasses were just starting to sprout some greens. Unexpected cloud cover made for cool temps.
I'd never hiked Weatherford between Kachina and Fremont Saddle, so this stretch was all new to me. That old road is an engineering marvel, and a pleasure to slowly stroll up a mountainside.
At the saddle we got a view of the snow in the IB, and it looked a little more daunting than my research indicated. Having been there a few weeks prior, I knew that from the IB trail up to the very last section would be easy going, but was concerned about the slope along the trail between Fremont and Doyle saddles. Just as I was considering heading back the way we came, two trail runners emerged from around the corner and informed me that despite it being very snowy, it was manageable.
I threw on my microspikes and gaiters, and grabbed my hiking poles for the traverse. It's definitely a little bit tricky and the deep snow and steep slopes slowed me down and each step took some care. But once I reached the IB junction, the slope moderates and it was just a pleasant hike in the snow until the Doyle Saddle where the sun exposed bare ground once again.
A few switchbacks later and I arrived at the crux on the day ... that couple hundred yard traverse across the steep, snowpacked slide path at the top of Snowslide Canyon climbing to the crest of the ridge below Agassiz. There had been two people who had obviously made the traverse earlier in the day, and it appeared an additional person yesterday. The snow was soft and easy to dig a good step deep into, and I made it across surprisingly quickly.
From there it was straightforward with only a few minor patches of snow from time to time. I decided to head for the summit and was pleased to see only 12 people over the next two miles. Late afternoon is a good time to avoid the crowds!
On the descent I moved quickly. The upper half is a muddy mess with the melt from last week's snow, but all the "old" snow from winter has melted from the trail, so in just a few more warm days, the entire 151 will be dried out and clear.
|comments disabled by a moderator|