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theksmith

1/22/17 Solo Mingus & House Mountains (SNOW!)

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i set out well before dawn a couple Sundays ago - jonesing for some snow-wheeling!

 

the first stop was House Mountain. there wasn't any white stuff, but i had planned to head out on the mesa east of the summit. i wanted to grab some sunrise photos looking out over Sedona and the surrounding snowy hills.

 

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unfortunately the trail became so mucky on the plateau that i turned around, not wanting to tear things up. i got back to the bottom of the hill just as the sun was rising.

 

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i fooled around with the camera while waiting for a good sunrise shot before hitting pavement...

 

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the wait panned out and i was rewarded with a pretty sweet shot (IMHO).

 

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back on asphalt, i curved my way on past Jerome and up Mingus Mountain. the new plan was to take a forest road route from the top all the way back down to near I-17.

 

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the first section of forest road had been plowed, but was still pretty slippery.

 

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it was snowing heavily, with about a foot already on the ground. i found there were some well established tracks already in place past the cleared area though.

 

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a couple miles in, i ran across some RZRs that apparently couldn't make it up a hill. the snow was just too deep with their bodies acting like giant shovels.

 

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there were footprints heading back out towards the highway, but i hadn't passed any other rigs on the way in. i looked up the number for the Yavapai sheriff's department and called just to give them a heads-up in case someone ended up missing or whatnot.

 

i had to bother them a second time right away... an abandoned older Ford truck with out-of-state plates was just a bit further in. this one was stuck in the ditch with no one inside, but with no foot path visible.

 

my new rubber mats got a thorough first test at least!

 

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i kept cruising along... downhill... pretty sure i could make it back up since the snow was packing just right and there were good ruts already. i didn't plan to back-track anyway, expecting to continue descending the entire way to Cherry, AZ.

 

if all else were to fail, i had my SPOT (and plenty of food, water, a sleeping bag, etc.)!

 

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this little guy was busy looking for a meal, not letting the freezing temps or the sound of my Jeep bother him one bit.

 

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a little further down, the last trace of other travelers disappeared and i was left to cut my own fresh tracks. slightly warmer temps here made for a very wet-snow and the jeep wasn't even sinking all the way in.

 

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it wasn't long before i came to a small hill that i needed to go up! oops - guess it wasn't "downhill all the way" like i remembered... and of course, i couldn't seem get up that d#mn little hill! when the tires would slip, the wet snow was turning into a mushy ice mixture instead of packing nicely like at the top of the mountain.

 

to be fair to the JK, it certainly wasn't stuck yet. i hadn't even aired down - so there was a second-tier approach still available ;)

 

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rather than take a few moments away from the toastiness of the Jeep's butt warmers, i decided to just head back out the way i came in...

 

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there were some nervous ultra-quick-steering moments while trying to stay in the existing ruts and keep momentum up the hills, but i made it back to pavement without incident. meanwhile, the trees near the top had become coated with a cool looking thick layer of ice and snow!

 

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i was back home in Phoenix not long after lunchtime - what a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

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This photo looks really cool!

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Must be nice having butt heaters. You could get stuck in the snow wearing only shorts and still nothing to worry about:D

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I would've been skeered to go alone. :(

I'm so glad you called the sheriff to report the abandoned vehicles! I'm assuming you never saw anybody; were they still there when you went back past?

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I would've been skeered to go alone. :(

I'm so glad you called the sheriff to report the abandoned vehicles! I'm assuming you never saw anybody; were they still there when you went back past?

 

everything was still there on the way out.

 

there were a couple lifted large pickups (F250/350) at the entrance when i left though... maybe they were there to go get the RZRs. i didn't think to stop and ask them - of course i wouldn't want to tip someone off that there were things to steal out there either. i figure by now they've been retrieved for sure though.

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Nice pictures. Doesn't make me miss snow yet! Shorts???!!!! lol.

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Nice pictures. Doesn't make me miss snow yet! Shorts???!!!! lol.

 

thanks!

 

shorts = yep... but at least i didn't wear my flops this time!

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Great pics and looks like great fun! And I'm not even going to bug you about going out alone!! Glad you had fun and got home safe too!!

 

smiles, ladybug

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