Woods Canyon Lake, a place I've heard much of but have never been to. My friend Vasi had been there a few times and suggested we make a short day trip out of it since we both had the weekend off. He had mentioned the location a few times before and it had always had me curious to see what it had to offer.
We arrived after a short 2.5 hour drive, noticing light snow along the highway in the higher elevations. However, we were completely surprised to see a decent amount of snow and ice still on the ground from a week earlier and this was only a preview of what was to come!
So that was great. But Woods Canyon Lake itself was closed. This forced us to make what turned out to be over 4 miles of *very* interesting hiking. Neither of us were expecting snow not to mention hiking in it! Underprepared was an under statement. We crawled under the gate and started on our journey.
The first leg of our unsuspectingly ambitious hike started off fairly easy, with minimal snow and ice on the road.
These large sheets of ice gave us the perfect opportunity to do some ice skating!
The closer to the lake we got, the fresher the snow became.
We were soon rewarded with this view of the beautifully half frozen, Woods Canyon Lake.
Vasi suggested we keep hiking to a spot that he had been to previously. I didn't want to because my boots had started getting wet on the inside and the chilling temperatures weren't helping but there was just something about the enthusiasm in Vasi's voice that made me numb (pun intended) to the forever encroaching frost bite. So we continued and I would eventually be glad we did as the view and stories we shared would become priceless.
It wasn't immediately noticeable because we were trotting through shin-deep snow but we were on what was normally a paved service road for the park. It was so cold, the bottoms of Vasi's jeans had actually frozen in place at one point!
I noticed there had been no other human tracks and very few animal tracks since the snowfall, giving the feeling of total seclusion, a very relaxing feeling, and the further back we hiked, the more breathtaking the views became.
Turn up your volume and listen to that snow crunch under Vasi's boots in this video!
After about 15 minutes of casually hazardous hiking, Vasi confirmed we reached our destination. Check out the view from his phone!
It was so quite and secluded, I swear I could hear the echo from my camera shutter as I captured some of these.
A severe lack of preparation left us with only some gummy bears, half a bag of gas station trail mix and very little water, so we decided it was time to head back. The sun was also starting to set and there was a noticeable drop in temperature.
Woods Canyon Lake is over 7,500 ft in elevation and I could definitely feel that thin air as I tried to navigate the snow covered terrain. This unsuspecting curb that I so disrespectfully glanced at on the hike in may have been the most relieving sight all day! It was the last and only dry spot to seek refuge at until we got back to the truck! It gave us a chance to get our feet dry and out of the snow.
iphone views from my favorite curb
After what seemed like an infinitely long and bone chilling march back, it was nice to see my truck, where I (literally) accidentally left dry socks and shoes! And another bag of gas station trail mix :)
The Mogollon Rim, another location I've only ever seen and heard about, was just a short 10 minute drive away so we decided to see whats to see there. Like Woods Canyon Like, the Rim was also closed so we had to climb under the gate. Here I am doing 'Tumblr' things over the Rim.
If you know me, you know Im scared of heights so something like this is a big deal me! I'd say pictures don't do it justice, which is true, but I was also too scared to get any closer to the edge so you can't see how truly high up we were!
We left at just the right time and we were able to see all the intense colors from the sunset. Check out this Boomerang of Vasi capturing it on the drive back.
All in all, a day well spent and a lessoned well learned. Bring more trail mix next time!
I'll be back before the snow melts! ;)
Check out some of the gear I use!