Yesterday, full of high hopes and optimism, Bobbie and I headed up toward Red Mountain Pass to hike the Corkscrew Gulch Jeep road. We do this every May, sometimes even April. But this time, Red Mountain was still white with snow... lots and lots of snow. Except for spying a mama Big Horn and lamb, the day was pretty much an exercise in futility (emphasis on "exercise"). This is truly the "Mother" of all wintery Springs, as we await Summer's arrival to the High Country. Me thinks it will be a late wildflower season this year.
As we drove up to Mama Big Horn, Lamby Poo hoofed it up the mountainside to a "safe" perch. Mom was too hungry to bother, munching fresh, juicy shoots of new grass.
In a normal year, or perhaps I should say in the past few years of less than average snow, Corkscrew Gulch road is hike-able by the first week of May. But we had "normal" precipitation this winter, with much snow lately.
We saw a bulldozer parked at the bottom of Corkscrew and thought maybe the road had been cleared, hopefully all the way to the pass.
Nope. About a mile and a half (of mud) was all she wrote. The road is to the right of the creek in the photo below, still under several feet of snow.
Well hell, should have brought our snowshoes. We waded across and tested the snowpack for firmness. It was a little soft, but no "postholes," yet, anyway. Stepping lightly, we continued on up the "road" into a brisk headwind, you know, just to aggravate the big guy wearing shorts.
Looking back (above). Not the nicest of days for a high altitude hike.
This hike is normally a bowl with orange/red cliffs all around. Not yet. Maybe a couple more weeks.
Eventually the snow became too deep and soft for foot travel. We started breaking through the crust, poth-holing clear up to crotches. It's a little like quicksand when that happens, extremely difficult to maneuver your way out as there is no "bottom." Wearing shorts, the ice crystals felt like little razor blades on my legs. Oh to have snowshoes...
A few more "postholes" and we had had enough. Time to bag it.