With a few free days on the agenda, I decided to head for the warm heights of southern AZ. Unfortunately I picked the Chiricahuas which had a pretty good blanket of snow covering them above 8k feet. The "easy stroll on a trail" that I was expecting turned into ~6 miles of easy south facing trail, broken up by ~5 miles of shin to hip deep post-holing. I made the summit and when I returned to my car at Rustlers Park, I immediately took a nap!
Another great hike on a good trail. Not much of a view from anywhere along the trail.
I finally got to summit this one with no snow on the trail. It goes a lot faster in running shoes; I was back in Willcox by 11:00.
Duane and I picked our way from the New Mexico border to Rustler Park in the dark with incomplete (inaccurate) directions "leading the way". A Whip-poor-Will sang off and on all night long, keeping us awake much more than we wished. However, we had a great hike in comfortable temperatures for our second of nine Ultra-prominence summits in nine days.
It was snowy again, but not as much as 11 months ago. I'll have to come back some time in another season, so I can see what the trail is like near the top without snow on it. I don't think many people hike to the summit of this one in the winter. Above the junction southwest of the peak (N31.84344 W109.29884 elev ~9150ft), I saw absolutely no human prints in the snow, just deer.
While back in college, my roommate and I got a wild itch to escape the Phoenix summer heat, so we escaped to the Sky Islands of southern AZ. We hiked Chiricahua Peak late in the day, and fell short of the summit. We bivyd on a cliff edge and enjoyed the view. We summited the next day and were fortunate to find a spring of water on the top. We were also fortunate to make it past a small timber rattler on the trail. Probably the best moment of the short trip was waking up in our tent on the second night in a grass field, thinking people were walking around our tent, but to our surprise, more than 5 deer were having dinner around us. When woke in the morning and got out of the tent, it looked as if a lawnmower had raced around our tent and all that was left was just small spikes of grass.
There was a small amount of snow at the trailhead, and of course it increased with elevation. About two miles up the trail, there was enough snow to put on crampons, so I did, but above 9000 feet, I was wishing I hadn't left my snowshoes in the car. There was about a foot of soft snow that substantially added to the difficulty in hiking to the summit. It was a beautiful day to hike this mountain, and I'm glad I made the 500-mile drive down here from Nevada.
In 2000 I made a one-day turnaround from Phoenix to the range and back in one long 20-hour day, but still had a great hike. In 2003 my wife and I approached the top from the north and had a pleasant half-day outing. The 'parks' (saddles) are beautiful!