SNOW BOWL TO MORMON LAKE 7-25-09
We left Phoenix about 5:30 AM. Drove to Marshall Lake first and cached 3 gallons of water, lots of food for Connie and Nancy. There was absolutely no water in Marshall Lake! Drove to Mormon Lake Village and left car for end of trip. There was a Hell’s Angel Biker Convention going on. Packed! We than drove to Walnut Canyon and cached 3 more gallons of water and more food. Both places were very easy to get to. Surprise Connie! Don’t think we will have any trouble finding. David and Ronnie did a fine job shuttling.
We made it to the Snow Bowl by 12:30! Connie didn’t need to worry so much after all. We couldn’t find the exact Az trail. We thought we were on the right trail, but according to Connie’s new GPS, we were parallel to it.
We hiked the Kachina Trail to Schultz Tank where we intended to go. It was 9700 elevation most of the way. A lot of huffing and puffing. Going up hill was a killer! Kachina trail was covered with fern up to our waist and many flowers in full bloom – Lupine (the biggest I’ve ever seen), owls clover, fire crackers, and many more. Connie was doing a great job on the GPS, but found out not to walk and read at the same time. She surfed down hill and not on her feet. No major injuries, scrapped elbow and knees. And hates to get dirty! Got that over with the first day.
It was good to see the Az trail signs going to Schultz Tank. The water level was a lot lower than it was when Connie and Judy came through last April and a lot muddier. We were able to strain the water OK. We found a nice place just a little down the road. A very nice first night camp. Had just a little spitting of rain while we set up camp. A cute little fire just enough for our dinner and tea. Nancy was really tuckered out but was able to stay up till 8:30 PM. It was a good long day.
Had a nice morning with birds all around. Started hiking about 8:30 AM. Hiked down the road for a couple of miles till we finally found the trail. Connie doing great with that GPS. We had some more uphill, but not too bad. Getting a little lower in elevation. Than it started raining, not just spitting! We waited it out under some low trees and our umbrellas, but still got very wet. Really came down hard. Finally let up enough to start walking again. Trail was good. Got to the underpass at Hwy 89. Followed an old road a little way to a gas station and started raining again. The thunder started that morning and didn’t stop the rest of the day. We had intended to fill up with water at the gas station and have lunch/dinner at Mary’s Café. Connie went in to ask about a motel and was told one was about a mile further done the road. Connie called a friend’s daughter who lives in Flagstaff and she rescued us. Patty took us to her place for a nice shower and chance to wash our wet cloths. Had a chicken dinner and dry night in a house. It rained the rest of the day. Patty took us back to the gas station in the morning for us to start up again.
Started hiking about 7:45 AM. Clear skies. Crossed old dirt roads many times. Went by several homes and rows of mailboxes. Never far from civilization. While we took a break close to the railroad we heard a really funny noise. Looked around and saw a big white chicken! Started crowing at us when we started leaving. What unusual wild life to see! We saw a lot of trains go by. It was hotter today, but did have some rain that cooled us off. Also had hail!! Made it to Walnut Canyon and found our cached water and food. Couldn’t quite carry it all but did go about another mile before making camp. Stopped about 3:30 PM. Had a very small fire because of the wind. A beautiful camp spot!
Started out in the morning about 8:30 AM. Just can’t seem to get going very early and really should have this day. Both feeling good. Downhill into a canyon that was spectacular. Since we went downhill we knew what was coming! Steep climbing out but not too long. Hiked through Walnut Canyon meadows covered in flowers and surrounded by colorful rock formations. Saw a couple of horny toads. They were colorful, too. There was no shade for most of the day and no clouds in the sky. We were wishing for rain! The book says this is an easy hike, but we were going the opposite way. Mostly uphill and hot. Wasn’t that easy. After one long climb, we took a break and put our feet up on a log. Nancy got sick to her stomach which didn’t help with hiking. Heat and her do not get along! Because we weren’t able to carry all the water and knew there wouldn’t be any water through this canyon, continued hiking all the way to Marshall Lake and our cached water. We were a day early.Made it there about 5:00 PM. Set up another nice camp but no fire. We couldn’t eat much dinner either. It was just good to be able to wash up. We were both very tired. Got a cell site so called Judy to make sure she was really coming. Nancy said if she wasn’t, she was DONE. It was a good thing we called her. She was going to surprise us and come a day earlier so we would have missed her. She was coming the morning to bring us water and treats. YIPPEE!
Connie and Nancy had a leisurely morning. Had a good rest after such a hard day. Heard elk bugling all night but didn’t see them. Judy came about 10:45 AM for the rescue. It was soo good to see her. We drove to Double Spring Campground to check out camp sites. Very nice. Cost $16 a night. Nancy treated. Judy drove Connie and Nancy to road south of railroad tank so they could hike back to Double Spring camp. Judy drove back to camp and set up camp and met Connie and Nancy about a mile away. Only hiked about 4 miles and only carried day packs. A nice easy hike after the day before. Judy brought lots of treats. Had celery, carrots, chips and humus. For dinner we had bread, apples, veggies with gorgonzola fondue and a bottle of wine. A great fire for the evening. A very good day was had by all.
Next morning of course was leisurely with Judy making coffee for us always. Judy left her car at the entrance to the camp ground and we all hike together. Another easy day of hiking. Judy gave Connie some more lessons on her GPS. Was a very pretty hike following very old remnants of a railroad. There were two signs along the way explaining the history. Very interesting. We hiked to Navajo Springs where water was coming out of a pipe. Very easy water duty! Judy and Connie had stopped here last April. We had a very nice afternoon. Was able to finally do some reading, word searches and beading. A beautiful place with all the aspen and pine and flowers. A wonderful finish. We late rising the next morning. There was no hurry. We only had about 1 ½ miles to Mormon Lake village. When we arrived at the village, we ran into Dale Shewalter. Told him we were hiking the AZT and hoped to see him in September. Connie’s car was just where we left it. So we all took off for home again. Was another great hiking adventure. Even with the hard parts, Nancy kept telling herself it was better than being at work! Another great time had by all!