As any local knows, yesterday was a pretty rare treat. As Brit eluded to, the entire surrounding mountains of Tucson, and even the basin, received some snow. Being a transplant from Chicago, I’m not a stranger to snow. In fact, I would actually rather be out hiking, biking, or climbing in inclement weather; it seems to add an additional element which is not apparent when the skies are clear and sunny.
So when I woke up and saw that white canvas of a mountain, I immediately suited up and put the dog in the car. Knowing that the Mt. Lemmon Hwy is notoriously closed when winter conditions are present, I wasn’t too surprised when I was turned around by the sheriff department at the base of the mountain. So I went to plan B and drove to the the Augua Caliente/ La Mila Grossa canyons. No snow on the ground there, but up canyon a little was pure white. So off we went; the dog blazing the trail and me running behind. Shortly into the hike/run, and after gaining a ridge and some serious elevations, the plants and cacti had a crust of snow on the windward side. Another mile in and the snow was sticking to the ground, and by the time I reached Augua Caliente Peak at around 5,000 ft. in elevation it was all white with about 3 inches of soft fluffy powder. My dog was thoroughly enjoying himself, running and sliding in the snow and I was was taking in the great views. And then, up in the clouds that I had entered, it started to SNOW! I was getting snowed on in the desert while standing around prickly pears and juniper trees. After a brief stay up in the snow, both my dog and I ran back down the trail, jumped in the car and headed home.
It’s nice to have the Coronado National Forest and the Santa Catalina Mountains as a backyard.