The numerous west coast wildfires have contributed smoke to our area of paradise, providing some unusual looking sunsets and sunrises. I signed up for a group hike originating in the Santa Rita Mountains at Madera Canyon. It's about an hour's drive but I arranged to carpool with Amy so we arrived at the trailhead together.
Most areas of the Catalinas are now open after the Bighorn Fire so I don't plan to drive to the Santa Ritas very often. But, this looked like a good group hike with a fun bunch of people and we were not disappointed. We hiked the 12% average grade of the Old Baldy trail to.....
....Josephine Sadle. Someone left a hat hanging for unknown reasons on the sign. Usually, from this saddle I break to the left and continue on to Mount Wrightson or right to other destinations but today.....
....the 7 of us continued straight on Josephine Canyon trail, a first for me. Actually, in the many times I have been at Josephine Saddle, I'm not sure I ever noticed this trail. Above, Mount Wrightson beckons but not today.
We follow the trail steadily down through a pine forest having a.....
....thick covering of pine needles as the Ponderosa Pines were plentiful in this south facing canyon.
We passed this oddly shaped tree along with.....
......many huge Alligator Junipers. I don't think I have seen so many fine examples as our group leader, Lorna, poses in front of one to give a perspective on the tree's size.
We stopped short of our planned turnaround point due to some of us having later commitments and finding this abandoned structure as a good spot for a break. It would be fun to take on a project of rebuilding the structure. Certainly all the rocks are still present but the....
...timbers would need replaced. In this lush environment, that wouldn't be a problem. We finished with 9 miles and 1900' of climbing. Good hike with good people.