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Mount Baldy Loop
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mini location map2011-10-10
14 by photographer avatarhikerguy
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Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 10 2011
hikerguy
Hiking17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking17.00 Miles   8 Hrs   35 Mns   2.24 mph
2,880 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break5 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Our hike to the north peak of Mount Baldy (the main peak is on reservation land and is off limits to non-Apache hikers) actually began at Sheep Crossing which made the total distance about 18 miles (according to our gps unit) instead of the 17 miles given for this loop. We hiked the loop in a counter-clockwise direction. The temperature at the start was about 32 deg F. The weather was ideal, sunny and cool. Matt, Dave, and I were accompanied by Dave's dog, Jesse. Jesse enjoyed the trek as much as we humans. Maybe more, because she seemed almost ready to do the loop again even though the humans were dead tired by the end.

The hike started out on dry ground, but by the time we reached the 10,000 ft elevation, snow and ice were present due to the first significant snow of the season that had fallen a few days earlier. Snow depth was never more than 5 or 6 inches and the footing was decent. I was tempted to put on my crampons a few times but never did.

On the way up, we passed through a patch of dead forest that had apparently been stricken by the bark beetle. I hope this doesn't become too commonplace in the White Mountains. It sure takes away from the beauty of the area.

The ascent route along West Baldy Trail #94 is mostly through dense forest - mainly spruce and a little aspen. Long range views are few. We were in deep shade most of the time. That explained why we spent so much time walking on snow.

The summit of Mt. Baldy is mostly barren (probably due to the lack of soil and being windswept) so one has a good 360 deg view. According to one of my hiking buddies you can see Mt. Humphreys on a clear day. Apparently it wasn't clear enough this particular day because I couldn't see it. We were able to make out part of the area burned by the Wallow wildfire a few months prior. Fortunately, the fire did not touch any part of this hiking loop.

The descent route along East Baldy Trail #95 eventually opens up in the area of some beautiful rock formations providing great views to the South overlooking a valley and the opposing ridge. The aspen on that ridge were mingled with the spruce which accentuated the Fall colors of the aspen. It was breathtaking.

To get back to the parking area at Sheep Crossing, we took the crossover trail that completes the loop. By this point my legs were about ready to fall off (thanks to this being the longest hike I had ever done!) so the ups and downs of this part of the hike were almost more than my old body was willing to do. But we successfully completed the loop and felt a deep sense of satisfaction. This day hike was well worth the effort!
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hikerguy's
10 Photosets

  2014-11-29
  2013-04-01
  2013-03-26
  2011-10-30
  2011-10-23
  2011-10-10
  2010-01-08
  2010-01-02
  2009-11-27
  2008-03-12
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