That all being said, my Election Day hike on the Pine Tree Trail was a pleasure. I didn't see another soul. The quiet was outstanding. I did hear some shouting down the canyon at one point,but it didn't last long. Perhaps the trail, which is rocky and steep, was too much for them and they gave up. I was a little hot on the south branch of the loop when we started,but soon we were in the shadow of the ridgeline.
Where the path dips back toward the ridge in the many drainages it crossed-we could feel the pockets of colder air. Fall color was provided by willows, cottonwoods, ash,oaks, grapevine and shrub like maples in the folds of the mountain way up high. There were also some very colorful weeds and shrubs( names unknown to me) as well. There wasn't a drop of flowing or standing water anywhere,but this little northeast facing indentation that is encompassed by the trail has it's own mini-climate, and seems to be doing well enough and not ravaged by drought and disease especially when compared to areas I hike in the Gila. The Abrams Fire had little effect here, although obviously burned areas on the ridge line near Sugarloaf were visible. So, I was glad to get out, and be awed by these massive, majestic crags of igneous rock. It may be possible to get jaded about them from a distance,but up close they never fail to impress.