Hike time: Guesstimated at 35 min.
Weather: ~95º, sun, wind, rain, hail, thunderstorms
About this hike: Driving to Echo Canyon, the dark clouds to the north began to unleash rain drops. I wasn't stopping. Last night's hike got railroaded, and I wasn't having this again. Got trailhead parking no problem tonight! Thunder crackling over head, I started up the Echo trail, wondering why I'm stupid enough to climb a mountain in a thunderstorm...especially a mountain where one must hold onto metal handrails part of the way up.
About halfway through, the downpour started. I crawled into one of the small caves that pockmarks the red sandstone. After spending at least 15 minutes in my cave, the rain and soft hail began to slow to the point where I could continue on, albeit very carefully. Wet rocks can be slick! I was having flashbacks to getting caught on Superstition Mountain in a hail/snow storm last fall.
Luckily the rain soon passed, and the warm sun broke through again. Thanks to gusty wind, the rocks dried quickly. My hike was certainly enriched by this experience, and the views of the thunderclouds now to the west, along with the soaked and steaming Valley, were awesome to say the least. Come heat of hell or high water, I won't be stopped...