Sunday, May 11, 2014

I HATE SNOW!! Bill Williams Mountain

Weather:  ~35°, strong winds, snow

Time round trip:  ~3 hours to summit and back

About this hike:  After Grand Canyoneering on Saturday you'd think I'd have had enough punishment.  Think again.  After leaving the Canyon I opted for a hotel in Williams rather than drive 3.5 hours back to Phoenix.  Bill Williams mountain, right in the middle of town, was on my list of things to check out.

An easily accessed, no-fee trailhead is right by the ranger station.  The summit hike is 3 miles of beautiful alpine forest complete with pines, aspens, and more.  At the top are radio towers and a fire lookout.

On the trip up I was plenty warm.  I was dressed right and all around prepared for this cold hike.  I even commented that the ponderosa pines and snow looked Chirstmas-y.  Now I will admit it wasn't heavy snow but more like big graupel pellets.  It would start, then stop, sun would come out, snow would melt--repeat cycle.  The wind, while audible in the thick forest canopy, did not affect me much on the trail.

When I finally reached the summit it was a different story.  Within seconds I felt frostbite setting into my hands.  Gloves weren't much help.  The summit joins to a dirt access road, which I would've had to follow a little ways to get to the true summit where the fire lookout is located.  It didn't happen.

While disappointed, I suppose this gives me an excuse to come back--ideally in the middle of July when snow isn't likely anymore!  I am paying for this hike too.  What began as a dull ache in my right knee has turned into something debilitating.  Hoping it's just a strain...I'm too young for a knee replacement, and I expect to be at my beloved Camelback this Saturday morning!

So I hiked ~16 miles at Grand Canyon and another 6 at Bill Williams.  I am in pain, but the memories made this trip were worth it.

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