The weather forecast was questionable in the afternoon but we decided to give it a go. From Madera we went up the Super Trail to Josephine Saddle. Then up the front side to the summit passing a few small patches of snow on the approach. A bit of wind on the summit but nothing that significant however the clouds started to get thicker as we took a break. After the break we headed down the backside seeing only two people on that stretch.
We reached Josephine Saddle again and this time headed up the Agua Caliente Saddle trail towards Mount Hopikins. By this time light rain started to fall but nothing too bad. Eventually there is a turnoff where a route splits from Agua Caliente and heads up the steep hill to the Hopkins road. Once on the road it's an easy stroll to the Whipple Observatory on the summit. I had not been up there in several years so it was cool to see the observatory again.
After that we headed down the only somewhat off trail portion of the hike. The sudo route follows the ridgeline down to Agua Caliente Saddle. It's mostly ponderosa pine so it's easy to navigate with almost no manzanita or scrub oak to deal with. At the saddle we picked up the regular trail and then over to the Vault Mine trail junction. From there it's about 2 miles down to the Madera parking lot on the Vault Mine trial which is one of the steepest constructed trails I've been on. Good hike with only minor on and off light rain and we got to see some new trails in the area!!