March 2014 - Chiricahuas

Loren and I go off to backpack in the Chiricahua Mountains.
Time for a backpacking outing to the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  A feature of most southern Arizona mountain hikes is that you start by going up. Here's the beginning of our up. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  This area saw the fifth-largest wildfire in Arizona history in 2011 (Horseshoe 2 Fire). You can see some burned trees behind Loren. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Several effects of wildfire in one photo: burned trees, fallen trees, increased erosion. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping 
The start of the snow that would eventually drive us off the top. But, we're getting ahead of the story. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Our shelter while we wait to see if the thunder/snow combination would pass. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Snowy shelf fungus. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Pascal enjoying the snow. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping 
We opted to head back down rather than brave the uncertain weather that night. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Get me out of here! : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Loren leads the way down. Winds picked up to 30 or 40 mph later that night. We probably would have seen worse than that up at the top...right choice to descend. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Meanwhile, the weather looks perfect at lower elevations. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping 
The snow was very ball-like and clumped together very well. Definitely not hail, though. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Back in nice weather, but you can see the clouds enclosing the mountaintops behind us. And of course a rainbow. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Great clouds and rain! : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  A study in contrast. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping 
Loren and Pascal at sunset. Massai Point in Chiricahua National Monument. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping  Weather the next morning: quite clear, extremely windy. : backpacking, mountains, chiricahua, backcountry, camping