Snowshoe Shenanigans

by Tyler Clark Wednesday, December 21st 2011

After getting a taste of winter about a month ago, I’ve been eagerly anticipating more snowfall on Mt. Lemmon. Unfortunately, the weather through the rest of November was fairly warm and no snow fell up on the mountain. All that changed in the second week of December when a storm system rolled in and dumped a ton of snow.

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On the following Wednesday, clear skies returned. The very next day my girlfriend and I rented some snowshoes from the Summit Hut and headed up to enjoy some fresh powder. Through the store’s rental program, local customers can check out tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, climbing shoes, and snowshoes to outfit their adventures. Considering how infrequently we get snow down here in Tucson, I was quite glad to be able to check out two pairs of snowshoes and test them before making a purchase.

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As we drove up Catalina Highway, snow started to appear even at the low elevations of 4,500 feet. By the time we reached Windy Point Vista, which is roughly halfway up the mountain, there was enough snow lying around for a few people to have snowball fights.

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After parking at a trailhead near Summerhaven, we strapped on our snowshoes and headed up the trail into the fresh powder and 35 degree weather. Noticing that some cross country skiers had already paved the way before us, we decided to follow in their tracks. The snow was very deep, between 3-4 feet, and had a very fine powder consistency that weighed down the trees and made them look beautiful and crystalline.

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After two miles of fighting our way uphill in multiple feet of powder, we reached a high point looking south over Tucson. The view was majestic. As we took a quick break on a nearby log, the warmth of the afternoon melted the snow and ice seated on the trees, causing it to rain down over us. The crackling of the snow and ice falling to the ground almost sounded like rain.

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Heading down following our own track proved almost as difficult as creating that track in the first place. The snow had a frustrating tendency to slide under our feet, making the descent a little tricky. When we finally arrived back at the car, we eagerly jumped into the warm and cozy Subaru to enjoy the scenic ride back down Mt. Lemmon.

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Activities | Trips

Comments (2) -

1/4/2012 7:55:45 AM #

It looks like you guys had a fun time out there. I love the first photo with the sun shining like that. It's a serene sight, with so much snow and so few people...

Kerstin Shed

1/27/2012 1:07:57 AM #

Wow, great photos!  The snow on the trees is beautiful.  Looks like it was a perfect day to be out on the snowshoes!

Snowshoe Guy

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The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!

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