The hike begins but after ascending awhile I discover I left my hiking pole on the back of my car. That's annoying so I descend, grab the pole and restart.
I pass Old Baldy trail on the left, staying straight on the Carrie Nation trail. I'm arguing with myself...stay on CN to Aqua Caliente trail or hang a right on the wickedly steep, Vault Mine trail. I hate the latter trail but it is the most direct way to Aqua Caliente so.....
.....I turn right on this unsigned trail and begin what can only be described as a slog. Having an average grade for the .9 distance, the trail is one of the steepest in the region.
I pass an open mine warning not to venture inside. This also signals I am nearing the top of the trail. It takes me 30 minutes to go less than a mile.
Reaching Aqua Caliente trail, I make a left. The trail is gently rolling, taking one through a few rock falls and lots of.....
.....shade. I see movement just left of my foot and there is a small snake. How cute. Little whip snake or something but then, it rattles! Yikes!!! Most be in its first year. I bring forth my camera, zoom in and...damn, it disappears into a crevice. I also look around for a parent but see none.
The trail meanders in and out of drainages coming off Mount Hopkins, while headed toward Wrightson on the left, Josephine on the right and that must be Jack Mountain in the center.
On my right I pass the unsigned trail that takes one up to Mount Hopkins Road. Soon I find the point where the Carrie Nation trail emerges from my left. I
....continue to enjoy the views while.....
....looking for what appears to be a viable campsite about .4 from the CN trail. The vague campsite is on my left so turning, I see a very faint trail heading up.
I had read a hike report that describes great views at the top but the report was several years old and the holly and other plants grow vigorously so I shall see.
The trail to the top is relatively short at only about .15 miles and not worn in so stay alert.
At the top there is a couple of cairns and most of the view is blocked but I found this opening for Mount Hopkins, that's about it. I descend to the Aqua Caliente trail, make a left, find the Carrie Nation trail and....
....descend that, passing another mine on my way to the parking lot. I finish with 6 miles and 2100' of climbing. The entire hike looked like this: