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Mormon Mountain Trail #58
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mini location map2021-03-12
15 by photographer avatarchumley
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Mormon Mountain Trail #58Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Snowshoeing avatar Mar 12 2021
chumley
Snowshoeing7.64 Miles 2,161 AEG
Snowshoeing7.64 Miles   4 Hrs   28 Mns   1.80 mph
2,161 ft AEG      13 Mns Break
 
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I wasn't expecting to do any more snowshoeing this year after getting back from Colorado, but alas, Arizona had a little winter left to squeeze out. I had to work in the morning, but managed to zoom on I-17 with good signal. I've definitely seen Stoneman unplowed under several feet of snow before so it was a nice surprise to see it was plowed today and didn't slow me down at all, hitting the trail at about 1:30.

The sun had been out for a bit, but thankfully clouds dominated and snow showers continued. The south-facing aspect of this trail melts out quickly, so I was thrilled with the foot of new light powder and soft, fluffy footing on the way up. From 7500 and up it just got deeper and fluffier. It was clear that there had been plenty of existing snow on the mountain before this latest storm, and there were places I could dig my pole down over 3 feet before hitting soil.

When I reached the summit road, I was a bit disappointed that there was no sign of any utility use. I had sort of been counting on a packed underlayer to ease my effort. A little bit exhausted, I considered just turning around rather than traversing over to the towers, but figured that would be cheating! I took a break by sitting on a snow-free electrical box. It was a rare treat when snowshoeing ... a "heated" seat for lunch! Though probably barely 50 degrees, it was noticeably warmer than the air.

Of course as I tried to take a break, the skies opened up with a brutal snow squall. High winds, whiteout snowfall, and a rumble of thunder had me bailing on my break pretty quickly. By the time I had made it back to the trail junction, there was blue sky visible once again. #timing :sweat:

The descent was quicker (not just for being downhill, but for following my own broken trail) and I was pleased to see that the south aspects had stayed cloudy and cold, holding all the snow, though a short stretch did get a bit crunchy after having softened a bit earlier in the afternoon warmth. I opted against the extra-curriculars around the campground and went directly back to the trailhead. The temp was now around 20 and daytime melting made the road very icy. Having considered a return through Payson, I opted instead for the dirt road back down to lower elevations and I-17 for the easy drive back to the desert. The road had not been plowed again, so it was a bit more adventurous on the trip down :).

Gotta love these quick winter getaways when you live in the land of golf courses and palm trees!
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