The west is baking from AZ to the Canadian border. Daytime highs are 10 degrees above normal so most days are 107ish. It's a cliche but a day out here in the upper 90s is rather pleasant but dang, 107....big diff so off I drive prior to the rise of the sun towards the higher elevation of Madera Canyon and the Santa Ritas.
It's a nice low 70s start as I gear up while a flock or gaggle of turkeys pecks at an unseen food source. I have parked at the Ampitheatre parking area, cross Madera Canyon Road and begin a nice loop hike, first on the Bog Springs Trail.
The size of boulders, long fallen from surrounding cliffs, are huge. Even at this higher elevation, maybe 5500', there are still some....
....pointy cactus like plants but the saguaros are at much lower elevations. I get on the Kent Springs Trail and began a really steep slog first to....
....Sylvester Springs. Some of the ramps are at least 35% and the final .25 miles, averages 30%. However....
....the forested slopes and I enjoy a nice, cooling breeze as it travels down mountain.
I hate that an image rarely shows the steepness of the trail but anyway, the trail is wide with ferns prevalent as I continue the grind before.....
....at about 2.5 miles, reach Kent Springs. It is a nice spot with a mature forest providing plenty of shade.
My early start, about 6:30am, kept me in the shade for almost the duration of the hike although the sun was closing on my slope.
In the distance, Mount Wrightson. Didn't seem too far away and of course it isn't. Some people were attacked by a goat up there a couple of weeks ago and so it was put down. Hikers retreated from it down trail but it kept pursuing them, bumping or ramming into them so and this activity continued over several days. Too bad.
Beautiful as a Manzanita's red branches are highlighted by the sun. Once I reached Kent Springs, the climbing was mostly over, thank goodness. I continued until reaching my 3rd.....
....Spring, Bog Springs. I continued, finishing with 6 miles and 1700' of climbing. Reaching my car, I noted the temperature was a still, relatively, cool 85 and then watched the temperature rise as I headed into the lower elevation. The heat won't last much longer and as I run into others from the midwest, a summer here is far more livable then a winter, there. Having said that though, next summer, I'm plotting a cooler, alternative.