Mother Nature certainly has a sense of humor. Just when we thought spring was here to stay, winter returned…with a vengeance! My fans up in Loveland, Colorado, got about 26 inches of snow. Yowsa! Meanwhile here in Arizona, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head north to go play in the snow one last time for the season.
Originally, we thought we’d head to Sedona, but it was a mix of rain and sleet, which would make it a muddy mess. Prescott didn’t seem to have much snow on Saturday, so Flagstaff it would be. We jumped on I-17 north on an SOS mission: search of snow.
We saw some very pretty wild flowers along the freeway. It always amazes me how just a little bit of rain can make such a huge difference in vegetation. The roads were dry with a few flurries. Flag got about a foot of snow on Friday, so we were excited. Mom chose the hike: Red Mountain.
We hiked Red Mountain during the warmer/sunny season and even saved a dog and his owner. We didn’t have to worry about the heat today, just the snow. Red Mountain is located about 25 miles northwest of Flagstaff. On Highway 180, you pass Snow Bowl and even the Wildlife Viewing area I mentioned before and look for the sign to Red Mountain at milepost 247. You’ll turn left and drive on a dirt road that winds around to the official parking area. They ask that you only park in the designated area. It’s about 2 ½ hours from North Phoenix…in good weather.
FYI humans: There is no restroom at the parking lot. We encourage you to use the one at the Wildlife Viewing parking lot, which is just a few minutes away off HWY 180 before you get to Red Mountain.
The trail is relatively flat and easy, and it is only 1.5 miles to Red Mountain, a volcanic cinder cone that rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. Supposedly Red Mountain formed during volcanic eruptions dating back some 740,000 years ago. That is beyond my math capacity. Suffice to say, it is old.
As mom and dad got ready, the snow started coming down harder. The prediction was for another foot of snow, and it seemed the forecast was correct. The trail is marked decently, but with the snow, it was a bit of a challenge to follow. We were glad that someone was ahead of us, and we followed their foot prints.
Hiking in a foot of snow was like walking in sand – it takes extra effort! No bother, though, I was a very happy Shiba Inu in the snow. Woof! The wind started to kick up just as we entered the section protected by trees. Some of the trees are quite unusual and interesting looking.
On a clear day, you would have views of Red Mountain as you hike toward it, but we were socked in. We could barely see ahead of us. We pressed on in 24-degree temps and before long, we were at Red Mountain. For a brief moment, the sky cleared, and we got to see Red Mountain and its “hoodoos.” Very impressive.
We found a log to sit on and had our picnic. I want to take a moment to thank my mom. She always plans and coordinates our adventures, and she never forgets special food for me to eat during our picnics. She’s the best! Now, if daddy would only remember his backpack, we’d be set. Sorry daddy…couldn’t resist.
Some nice people from the college were enjoying the rocks covered in snow as well. We all said hello and chatted for a bit. It was so quiet and peaceful with the snow coming down. We were quit content when we realized it had snowed a lot since we got there. We decided we better head back out.
Between the snow and the wind, our tracks were covered and gone! Again, the trail is marked, but there are a few places to pay attention. We arrived back at our car, which was covered in snow.
I nestled into my bed for the drive home. Dad, on the other hand, had quite the drive ahead of him. They call it a snow squall, and it hit Flagstaff fast and furiously. Roads that were bone dry when we came up were black ice. The snow dumped on top of the already foot of snow, and the winds made visibility a problem.
Mom and dad personally saw eight people skid off the road into the ditch. They were going too fast for the conditions. Dad grew up with snow, so he knew better. Slow and steady gets you there. It was a mess, though, and we weren’t sure at one point if we’d make it home. They closed I-17 behind us, and we learned that hundreds of folks got stranded in their vehicles overnight. Eeesh. That would not be fun! I hope everyone is okay. This is a great reminder to always be prepared: emergency supplies, extra water, and warm clothing.
Thankfully, we got through the worst of it and finally hit rain around Sedona. The snow level definitely dropped as did the temperature. I slept through the entire snow squall so that when we got home, I was wound up and ran around like a crazy dog. Awoof! What can I say? I had a great day, and I was telling the world about it.
I love sharing my stories, but I’m always open to learn about others. Feel free to share your greatest adventures with me. I might discover something new.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!