Made a trip out to the park last weekend, and what a time to be there! We got a little of EVERYTHING weather wise. I was there to take a group out on their first visit to the park. The plan was for the Outer Mountain Loop.
We arrived at the park on the afternoon of Thursday the sixteenth. As we reached the Basin, a slow light rain started. It quickly turned into much more. Thunder, lightening, wind, and heavy rain. It rained enough that water actually started flowing through the campground. It was such a wonderful and welcoming site! But it only lasted about 15 minutes. After the rain stopped, we spent some time going through gear and making sure everyone was ready for the next few days. Then the wind started picking up again, which was quickly followed by HAIL! Enough hail came down to turn the ground white. To bad the camera was in the truck and we were taking shelter under the picnic table cover. The rain came back again with a vengeance. Again it didn't last too long. We had dinner and crawled into the tents. Through out the night, rain and lightening would come and go. It was an amazing show.
The next morning was clear when we awoke. As we were breaking down camp, fog started rolling in up through the window. We were quickly enveloped in fog. Fog filled most of the basin and then started to retreat back out of the window. The rest of the day as we climbed the Pinnacles Trail, the window had fog hanging around. The Basin was clear, but you could see the desert below and north of the Basin remained fogged in. Occasionally, you could see the Christmas Mountains poking through.
From Boot Canyon, you could see the clouds hanging low in the desert and the Del Carmens peaking up in the distance. There was so much moisture in the air, it actually felt humid!
After setting up camp at Colima, we hiked out to the South Rim. Boot Spring was still dry, though the pools along Boot Canyon had gotten a good recharging. There was actually a small amount of water running between the pools. There was water all the way up to where the trail crosses the wash for the last time.
That night we went to bed at 9:30 under a clear sky after watching the stars. At 11:00 here it came again. Thunder, lightening, and pouring rain. The lightening was so bright. A couple hours later I woke up and heard a light misting rain hitting the tent, and quickly fell back asleep. At 5 am, I was awakened by the side of the tent collapsing onto my face. "What the hell?" I could feel something leaning against the tent...... I gave it a push and felt something go sliding off the tent, SNOW! I shook of the vestibule and could see it coming underneath. I stuck my head out to a winter wonderland and snow coming down sideways. I crawled back in my bag for a couple more hours of sleep. The next morning we were treated to a rare and wonderful site.
With the rain earlier in the night and all the snow, we were concerned about the condition of the trails. The plan for the day was to go down Juniper Canyon and then a few miles onto the Dodson. With the steepness of Juniper Canyon and the distance we had planned to cover, we decided to change our plans. We head back to the Basin along the Laguna Meadows trail.
This is where the western end of the Colima trail meets up with South Rim trail. Notice there isn't a single footprint along the trail.
I had some wonderful views of the sun setting as I drove to Juniper Canyon to retrieve the water we had cached and planned to pick up during our OML hike.