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Snowshed - Paint Rock Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-06-02
10 by photographer avatarLJW
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Snowshed - Paint Rock Loop, AZ 
Snowshed - Paint Rock Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 02 2021
Hiking20.77 Miles 5,317 AEG
Hiking20.77 Miles   7 Hrs   9 Mns   3.12 mph
5,317 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
A friend and I needed to get away. Hadn't made a trip down to the Chiricahuas this spring yet, so off we went. Wanted to repeat a loop from last year from Turkey Creek, but with lightning in the forecast around 11am, and since I've never been East of the Crest, we drove down through Portal with dive-bombing birds and neurotic jackrabbits flashing through the high beams trying to make sunrise. Figured this loop would be shorter, but I'm not sure it was. My friend lounged around Herb Martyr CG where she enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the wilderness while I disappeared for 7 hours and offered my body to it as a sacrifice. Went clockwise.

Herb Martyr Trail in superb shape. Sunrise views of Sanders Peak that nearly dropped me dead. A mile from the top took a break to catch my breath and heard footsteps out in the brush north of the trail. Bid hello from below, half dozen more slow steps and silence. Kept going, and didn't see anything. Trail climbs into a patch of old growth conifers near the jct and Pine Park. Really pretty area, and the last trees until Snowshed Peak.

Snowshed trail to saddle and up. Went straight up and bumped into a decent trail that climbs the ridge. Followed it most of the way down. It's often overgrown or covered over with deadfall, but it beats wading through the aspen. Summit views okay, but the forest of fir and pine on the summit/ridge is worth the diversion. Back to snowshed and took that around Aspen Peak. My favorite views in the range are probably looking across Rucker Canyon to Paint Rock, Raspberry Peak, and Monte Vista. Long time to admire from the Snowshed/Crest jct to Chiricahua Saddle. Trails in good condition to that point, although the end of Snowshed near Crest is soon to disappear in the ferns.

Short out and back under stormy clouds up Paint Rock. Probably my favorite summit in the range I've been on and the worst place to be with a chance of lightning. Fun climb up to the summit, but the views were a little hazy. Back to Chiricahua Saddle with a short break under the trees. Brilliant forest around Chiricahua peak. In the burn areas where the fir and pines are gone aspens are growing in. Decent trade off. Around the peak with huge views north toward Graham, Dos Cabezas, etc.

Got to Cima Park and headed down Greenhouse. Wanted to be there before 11, got there at 10:30. 10:50 heard the first thunder and was happy to be off the crest of the mountains. Greenhouse was my favorite new trail of the day, old growth forest and big views toward Silver Peak and Portal lower down. Wound back around with Basin Trail. Good road walk between the trails. Basin had unexpectedly good views. Cut down to the TH with Ash Spring Trail through some of the tallest junipers and sycamores I've ever seen. Didn't see anyone on the hike, 60s just about the whole time.
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