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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
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mini location map2015-07-14
33 by photographer avatarThe_Dude
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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2015
The_Dude
Hiking10.49 Miles 4,125 AEG
Hiking10.49 Miles   5 Hrs      2.57 mph
4,125 ft AEG      55 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
What an amazing hike! I have been wanting to do this one for a few years, timing and logistics have just made it a hard one to get going. Weather report was questionable at best for this day, but it looked reasonable enough to give it a go. I finished up my work day in Tucson and headed for Madera Canyon, I got there about 3 to start hiking. There were a few folks milling around the picnic area, but I only saw one group of 4 hikers just past the Josphine Saddle on my way up, this was my only human contact for the day. Temps were great, so much cooler up at the 5400' TH...Most of this hike is in shaded forest, not my usual forte but I could get used to this. Views start to open up the closer you get to the top, there is quite a bit of previous fire damage around the Baldy Saddle which has the nice side effect of opening up some really big views to the eastern half of the state. The trail is in great shape, nice and wide except for a small brushy section just before the Baldy Saddle. No route finding skills necessary, just the constant need to keep gaining elevation. I managed to stay dry and lightning-free (thankfully), there was a huge storm to the east that was raining and had some pretty big strikes. There was also another cell to the southeast of me, I lucked out with a nice dry spot between two systems. I took a good 25 minute break up top watching the storms and trying to figure out what all mountains I could see. Limited distance views with all of the storm activity, I guess I will just have to try this again on a clear day...I was thinking about taking the Super trail down for variety, but I did not want to push my luck with the weather, I was pretty lucky to this point. Things took an interesting turn on the way down, about a quarter mile from the Josephine Saddle I came upon a lone black bear. it was about 25' in front of me by the trail, but it did retreat about 10' or so once he saw me coming. It stepped back a bit and just stayed there, staring at me. I was a bit unnerved to say the least, first bear encounter and I was all by myself. I stayed put for a few minutes for the sake of curiosity, and not entirely sure of my best course of action. I tossed a big log towards its general vicinity (not right at it for sure) to see if I could get it to shuffle off, the bear didn't even blink. I picked up a good sized piece of lumber to carry as a just in case (evening the chances, caveman style) and started off again, with many an over the shoulder glance. About a half mile past the saddle, I saw a second bear, this one was across the ravine from me and simply flying down a hill, pretty amazing how fast they can go if they want to. Finally, about another tenth of a mile down the trail I came on a third! This was a big one, I would guess at least 300 pounds, probably a bit larger. He was right on trail, and it only backed off to about 25' or so. I was still toting my big piece of lumber, and now I would carry it all the way back to the trailhead. Thankfully no aggression from this one, but there were a few tense moments to be sure. I finally got back to my car, and grabbed some pizza over by Vail for dinner before heading to the Benson Motel 6 for the night, high class accomidations behind the truck stop. All in all, a fantastic day, if a little intense from time to time...Wildlife count for the day: 3 bears, 1 king snake, 1 small brown rattler, rabbit, many lizards, and I don't know how many different kinds of birds. Great hike!
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
Named place
Named place
Mount Hopkins
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Sparse color throughout the whole hike.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Dripping Dripping
Light flow, some pools
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