With the storm that passed through AZ yestaday, I need to see some snow, but I didn't want to battle crowds or the roads around Flagstaff. So I loaded up to XC skis to see if I could get a little repeat of last years most excellent short ski adventure on Pinal Mt.
I split from my house at 5:30 and was heading up the the FR 651 two hours later. Although I could see patches of snow up high I certainly couldn't see much. This kind of concerned me. The top of the hill was also socked in with clouds.
Last year, do to the low snow level, I parked really low. Not the case this time around, as continued up and up. I saw few patches of snow near the Sulphide Del Rey picnic area, but then as I head up the portion of FR651 that runs West to East (south facing exposure) for a few miles it was absolutely bare. I didn't count on snow being here, but I couldn't see any snow up higher, so the trip was looking like a complete bust. I continued on anyways, but about 1/2 mile below the Kellner Canyon TH, I the snow line just appeared, and once I got up the the TH there was several inches of coverage. Suhweet. Not only did I find snow, but it was nearing the top of the ridge, so no steep hills to negotiate with my XC skis.
The road was covered, and in primo condition for XC skiing. I was the first person up there, so no 4x4 tracks. It is actually pretty hard to ski with XC skis on a road that has been tracked by cars, cuz you need to use the whole road to kill speed and make turns. Double suhweet.
It was cold up on top, the winds were honking, and I was in the clouds the whole time, but it was all good.
My basic round was only to head up the road to Pinal Peak, which I did, but I ended up doing the Ferndell Loop up on top.
I'll need to calculate the full mileage, but I can just say now that it wasn't much. Prolly on only 5 or 6 miles, but it was nice to be in a snow setting again.
Here is a dorky vid, and please excuse my overload of ego shots, cuz there really wasn't much interesting to take pictures of