Decided to make my first ascent of Wrightson for 2010, now that the snow is gone and the trail is clear. Turned out to be a good day for the hike. This is my favorite peak in southern Arizona, and I have probably gone to the top about 50 times since my first time in 1983. I usually do this hike, along with Blackett's Ridge over in Sabino, as fast as I can. Last year my best time up was 130 minutes (as measured from the official starting point at the boilerplate sign where the Vault Mine Trail branches off). I started out thinking I would push myself this time, but ended up taking pictures and a 12 minute break at Bellows Spring. Started at 840 and made the top at 1134, so if you subtract about 25 minutes for the stops, my hiking time was about 150 minutes. That's not too bad, especially with all the knee and foot issues I've had of late. The key to doing this in a good time is to keep moving without stopping, or if you need a short stop, it is better to do it at Bellows Spring than Baldy Saddle. Unless you are sightseeing, just blow by Josephine Saddle, as you can stop there on the way back down for a needed break. My best time up was in 2004 when I did it in 98 minutes, but those were the crazy days, and I have no desire to hike like that anymore (not to mention my aging body won't let me)!
One thing that struck me in the upper reaches was how much more exposed the trail is following the fire a number of years back. There was obviously a lot of blow down of dead trees this past winter. One benefit of this is there are better views out along the way up the mountain.
Spent about 45 minutes on top for lunch and visiting with other hikers. It was a little tough hanging there that long, as the ladybugs were in a frenzy! I kept moving around to try and escape them, but to no avail. And they will bite too! But how can you not like them?
Trip back down was smooth and my knee mercifully didn't act up too much. Kept a good pace, but stopping for pictures here and there. Back to the start point at 320. This is just a great hike.