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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
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mini location map2017-04-25
5 by photographer avatarSkyIslandHiker
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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles
4,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A new friend was leading a Marana-based hiking club up Mt. Wrightson this morning so this was a golden opportunity for me to knock out my "weekly Wrightson obsession". The wind forecast was a concern today but I really wanted to observe the Sawmill Fire from high above. After some hemming and hawing I decided to go at the last minute and, consequently, I arrived at the Old Baldy Trail head almost a half hour after the group had departed. Luckily I had my mojo this morning and cruised on up to Josephine Saddle in 52 minutes where I caught up with the group.

About halfway between Josephine Saddle and Bellows Spring, our eagle-eye leader spotted a small rattlesnake on the trail. It slithered off quickly before we could get our cameras out. We took a break at Bellows Spring where the trail-side basin was overflowing with water for a change, thanks to a trickle of water from the fragile pipe. As we neared the top of the 32 switchbacks just below Baldy Saddle, the wind began howling. Two of our seven hikers bailed out at Baldy Saddle as the rest of us continued to the summit. The strong westerly winds calmed as we climbed the first set of switchbacks above Baldy Saddle as the mountain shielded us. As we climbed the final set of 13 switchbacks on the south side, the wind began to pick up again. The very last switchback was extremely gusty almost to the point of throwing us off balance. However, the nearby summit was just breezy. As is often the case, Baldy Saddle and the final switchbacks are much windier than the summit.

Summit visibility was only fair due to wind-driven dust and smoke from the Sawmill Fire. There was quite a long smoke plume off to the northeast (see photo set). Some initially thought the bright orange fire retardant were flames in the distance. As of this writing the Sawmill Fire has now burned 18,000 acres and is only 7% contained.

Just before reaching the summit we bumped into "Mr. Inspiration", Bob Williams, who at age 81 had just bagged his 348th summit of Mt. Wrightson :app:

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
Fauna
Fauna
Horned Lizard

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
The trail side basin was overflowing with water from the fragile dripping pipe. Don't touch that pipe!
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