I returned to the Santa Ritas to head up to a new peak, Josephine. The first segment would be to Josephine Saddle, accessible either via the Old Baldy trail or the Super Trail. Baldy, which I hiked last week, is 2.2 miles having an average grade of 14%, Super is 3.7 miles and an average grade of 8%. I went for the Super Trail this go around.
Arriving at the trail head at 6:30am, a herd of deer are having breakfast.
There's Mount Wrightson but not on today's agenda.
Like the Old Baldy trail, a large portion of the morning is in the protective shade of the mountains.
The sun highlights a nearby peak as I enter Mount Wrightson Wilderness. I bring a hiking pole and bang it on rocks to alert the bears and lions of my presence. In January, a guy was hiking, became lost and a massive search ensued. They never found his body, likely dragged into a lion's den, never to be recovered.
While longer, the trail is much easier to hike without as many rocks protruding from the ground.
A stump has accumulated enough debris so plants are now growing from it.
I reach the Josephine Saddle but had wrongly assumed there would be markings for the peak. I had failed to do much research other than if I proceeded on the Super Trail, the Josephine Peak was somewhere off that trail.
A guy came through and provided some insight. Yes, Josephine Peak is off the Super Trail but there is no trail to it, merely a route and it is not marked with many cairns. Hmmmm, maybe I should leave that for another day when I am prepared.
In 1958, a group of Boy Scouts were at the saddle when a freak snowstorm moved in without warning. Some of the boys huddled under a picnic table, others tried to get down the mountain. Snow fell 4-7'. Three of the boys died as rescuers on horseback struggled to reach them.
I descend the Old Baldy trail and ya must keep your eves glued to the trail. It's amazing I do not fall more often than I do.
It is pleasant to hike through the forest, high above the valley where today's high temperature was 107.
A beetle enters a concave area of a tree where a spider awaits.
Check out the color of the lizard's tail.
I enter the parking area having hiked 7 miles with 2000' of climbing.