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Temporal Gulch - Josephine Canyon Trails Loop, AZ
mini location map2017-04-23
16 by photographer avatarSkyIslandHiker
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Temporal Gulch - Josephine Canyon Trails Loop, AZ 
Temporal Gulch - Josephine Canyon Trails Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 23 2017
Hiking9.50 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles
2,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Sunday morning I met up with two hiking friends for a loop hike/bushwhack from Josephine Saddle. First we had to cruise up the 2.5 mile Old Baldy Trail. From the saddle we headed out the Temporal Gulch Trail where we visited McBeth Spring and Boy Scout Rock. McBeth Spring is not only a very reliable all-year source of water, it is also perhaps the prettiest spring in the Santa Ritas especially with its setting among stately pines. Boy Scout Rock is named for the three scouts that perished nearby in a freak snowstorm in November 1958. The rock affords outstanding views of Mt. Hopkins, Josephine Canyon and the southern Santa Ritas. Just beyond the rock we bushwhacked down a steep hillside and located a wooden cross marking where one of the scouts was found. We then continued southward on the Temporal Gulch Trail until we came to a ridge on our right leading down to Josephine Canyon. The ridge is about 1.5 miles south of Josephine Saddle.

We bushwhacked down the ridge line which was slippery due to loose dry dirt and pine needles. We eventually hit the Josephine Canyon Trail where we continued down the trail until we reached the CCC cabin site, just shy of the southern trail head on FR143. All that remains of the Charles C Chapman cabin are some stone walls. Nonetheless it's a good place to turnaround and take a break. The Josephine Canyon Trail is "hit and miss" along the canyon bottom as the trail crosses the creek numerous times and has been obliterated in many areas by monsoon flooding. However it's easy to stay on course because the canyon bottom is less than 100 feet wide. Although the entire length of trail does not appear to be maintained, once the climb begins to Josephine Saddle the trail is very defined and easy to follow. Josephine Canyon sports some huge old-growth alligator junipers along the creek that are quite impressive in size.

Upon cresting Josephine Saddle we ran into a Sierra Club hiking group led by Ranger Meg whom we had heard of but had never met. It's always good to be able to put a face with a name.

About mid-way down the Old Baldy Trail en route back to the Roundup, we took a detour off trail to visit the remains of the El Parque de Belle "shrine" which is down near the creek. The shrine was destroyed after being exposed on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star in 2011. From the shrine we bushwhacked down the east fork of Madera Creek which dumped us out on the Super Trail about 1/4 mile from the trail head at the Roundup.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert :y:
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