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Super Trail #134
107 Photosets

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mini location map2019-10-08
6 by photographer avatarJim_H
photographer avatar
 
Super Trail #134Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 08 2019
Jim_H
Hiking16.00 Miles 4,100 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles   6 Hrs   40 Mns   2.59 mph
4,100 ft AEG      30 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Trying something new on Wrightson, I went up and down the Super Trail. Lower FPM means an easier hike than Old Baldy, but it takes a while. Not really sure if it is 14 miles RT, or 16 miles, depending on the official route or the 7/4/19 GPS route, but AEG is the same when I created synced and complete hike routes. I was happy I went as fast as I did, if it really is 16 miles as I will record. Sign said 16!!

Nice day, but it is still noticeably more humid down here. Lush and green, too. Tons of flowers seen, and it felt more like late summer than autumn. It is funny how different these mountains are compared to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Forestry Report: Much more Apache Pine noted on the lower south facing slopes of this hike, and extensive oak regeneration on the slopes above Josephine Saddle with very few remaining conifer snags standing close to 15 years post Florida Fire. Above Riley, Arizona and Ponderosa regeneration was variable with respect to density, but extensive. Too bad this is, "wilderness", whatever that means these days. The appearance of the oaks, the silvics of the Apache Pine, and what I have read about fires in the Santa Rita Mountains in the late 19th century have me convinced of two things. First, that the now oak dominated slopes of the Santa Ritas were formerly Pine and grass, with oak taking over since the USFS began operating here. Second, that the Florida Fire was merely the large scale disturbance that officially shifted the canopy away from pine to an oak forest, and oak will essentially dominate the Santa Rita Mountains in the 21st and perhaps the 22nd century. This is similar to what has occurred in SE USA Longleaf/Slash/ and Shortleaf forests which formerly had similar fire regimes and pine over grass forest structures. Here, with our intense spring droughts and fire season, a large scale stand replacing disturbance (fire) hastens the process, removes the pine overstory and a coppice of advanced regeneration oaks dominates today, and to the future. From what I read, avian species composition seem to be the wildlife that takes the brunt of the changes. Clearly, acorns are great for rats and deer.

Apache pine may slowly disappear from our Sky Islands, but it seems to be a very important and wide spread species in the Sierra Madre Occidental, where active forest management perpetuates the forest composition near to what existed before 1500, or so I am left to believe. My guess, is that the Horseshoe 1(?) and 2 Fires of the Chiricahua Mountains, and the other intense fires in the other Sky Islands south of I-10 have had similar effects on the pine forests of those areas.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

dry Baldy Spring Dry Dry
Not so great looking water in a catchment, with no obvious source. Abundant soil moisture, so maybe there is a broken pipe?

dry Sprung Spring Dry Dry
I saw nothing usable.
_____________________
Let's go Brandon!!!!! Let's go Brandon!!!!
HAZ Member
Jim_H's
535 Photosets

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