I am the first car in the Madera Canyon parking lot, 5:45 with a very pleasant temperature of 63 degrees. Sharing the lot with me are two turkeys. I was surprised that no one else was yet here but other cars soon arrived.
I farted around for a little while as the sun rises from the east as it almost always does and cast a glow on the surrounding east facing hills.
The first 2 miles of my hike was entirely in the shade until I reached this spot but was soon back in the cover. I was walking the "Old Baldy" trail and dreaded the ascent as from memory it was really steep but today, the average grade of 14% to the peak didn't feel that bad. Didn't feel good either!
I reach the Josephine Saddle, take a short break, think about taking the longer (4 miles) and not so steep Super trail to Baldy saddle but go for the shorter (1.8) and steeper continuation of Old Baldy.
Some beautiful pink and elsewhere, white flowers. The coolness of the morning hung with me as I ascended.
Reaching Baldy saddle, I did a self check. Not good you out of shape fatty patty! OK, that's a bit of a stretch but we are our own worse critic and that's what my self examination revealed. I thought of turning around as I.....
….peered at the final ascent of .9 miles to Mount Wrightson.
At this point, with 3000' of elevation gain, I was no longer walking, more like a shuffling of the feet unless a protruding rock forced me to lift a foot. Hey! Mount Hopkins in the distance. Next month will be the 1 year anniversary from getting lost and finding the remains of a dead hiker. Maybe I should reprise my role and do the route again but not get lost this time.
Lot of evidence of a past fire as I look back at the Baldy saddle.
The ascent get a little narrow in a few places but nothing that should cause anyone a problem. Actually, I was aware of my fatigued condition and careful not to trip and go pinwheeling down the slope.
After 5.5 miles and 4000' of climbing, I reach the peak where there is a foundation of a fire watch building. I find the registry in an ammo box and sign in.
The views are awesome as usual although to the north, the smoke from the Bighorn fire obscures quite a bit. That fire is now at 7000 acres and only 10% contained. Fortunately, where I live is on the edge of the limited containment line so I am good.
There are billions of ladybugs and a few hundred thousand flies so the stay at the peak is rather unpleasant and I descend. In the distance, a small grove of trees that survived the last fire.
Lots of new trees growing on the hill sides.
I take a last look, long into my descent, at the peak. Finished with 11 miles and a good calorie burn.