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Mount Baldy Loop
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mini location map2016-07-08
14 by photographer avataradenium
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Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 08 2016
Backpack17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Backpack17.00 Miles2 Days         
2,880 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was one of the most lovely, easiest hikes I've had the pleasure of doing in Arizona. The weather was perfect; if it topped 80 degrees I'd be surprised. Did not rain once, though it threatened to. The only downer is that the only mammalian wildlife I saw were squirrels and chipmunks, so I guess the money I spent on bear spray was wasted :)

Day One:
Had a big, fat breakfast at Biscuits in Gilbert, which pretty much carried me through til dinner. Bade my wife and child, who both eschew backpacking, goodbye and headed east on the 60. I arrived at the East Baldy Trailhead and struck out a little after noon. It was maybe in the upper 70s with a cool breeze. I turned onto the crosscut trail and entered that state that those of us in the low deserts sometimes experience... you know that weird sense that not every place is hot and hard and unforgiving. Made the West Fork Trail in no time and headed up the hill. I wanted to camp in or near one of the big meadows I'd seen on Google Maps, but apparently so did everyone else that was out this weekend. I continued on, remembering the campsite described by another HAZ member... right before the last stream crossing before heading up the big hill to the summit. I had that marked on my GPS and I found the spot unoccupied. There was a stage one burn restriction on the Apache-Sitgreaves so a campfire was out of the question... I therefore tried anyway but everything was WET. Good thing for the burn restriction. Had to settle for a cigar, which by the way, shoos off the mosquitoes nicely.

Day Two:
I awoke late and broke camp fairly quick and headed up the long, unending hill. At the East-West trail junction, I decided to head up toward the summit as far as I could go. I was going off the boundary in my GPS, which seemed to be pretty close to reality. The catch is that there is no marked boundary for the rez, no sign whatsoever, just a couple of cairns at the probable boundary which would form a line perpendicular to the trail. So, I walked to within 3/10 mile of the summit and turned back. On the way down the east side trail I stopped at the plane crash, made my way up to the fuselage through dead fall and bramble. Having added some desert pin striping to my legs I continued on and at about 2pm I found myself in the last big meadow on the east side, roughly a mile from my car. This had to have been one of the prettiest spots I've visited in Arizona. I decided against continuing on to the car and camped there for the night.

Day Three:
Being about a mile from the car, I was up early and out early... no need to filter water or bother packing my pack neatly. The trip was done. I got down to the car about 6:30am. Having some extra time to "kill" I drove over to Big Lake and did some geocaches in that area. I reluctantly headed home about 11, but I'm already thinking about a return visit.
Airplane Wreckage
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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