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Mount Baldy Loop
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mini location map2009-08-15
20 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 15 2009
DarthStiller
Hiking17.50 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking17.50 Miles   7 Hrs   20 Mns   2.39 mph
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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wallyfrack
This was another one where the final mileage was in question. We started from the West fork trail to do the loop, which adds at least an extra 2 miles. My GPS odometer (which is notoriously unreliable) said 18.0 miles, and after I saved the track, it said 18.6 miles. It certainly felt like every bit of 18.6, but based on most of the other info available to us, I'm going to split the difference on this one and say 17.5.

This hike has one of the strangest starts when a guy with a group of horseriders approached us and asked us about current conditions of the trail. He said that the Forest service had been lying saying they had cleared the upper part of the trail,but his recent experiences there horse riding last year proved otherwise. he then recommeneded that we take firearms if we had any (which we didn't) because there was a recent experience with a local who had a wolf almost attack him. This guy went so far as to suggest we kill any wolf with sticks, knives, rocks, etc if we encountered one. Because of this, Wally decided to pick up a walking stick and use it for the first half of this hike.

I must be getting old now because I can tell when the elevation is affecting me. Every semi-steep climb on this trail seemed much harder. As we approached the top, I stopped more and more often to take pictures and rest.

For the record, where the West and East Fork trails meet is NOT the boundary of the reservation. When we were there, there were two sign posts from which the signs were removed. My 100 classic hike books says that where the trail crosses this boundary is another half mile uphill. From the junction to the boundary, the trail parallels the boundary. My GPS seemed to confirm this. I figured this all out only after we were done. We decided to turn back down at the junction of the East and West Forks so as not to risk anything. When we were there, one guy was watching the packs of a group of his friends who he said had decided to summit sans packs. This guy also claimed that the boundary was at this junction. He was kind of right because it is right there, but the trail doesn't cross it for another half mile. One day I may return to make it to the boundary.

The connector trail #96 is much narrower than 94 and 95 and seemed more like 3 miles than 2. Even the slightest gains in elevation at this point were a total chore due to elevation and fatigue since we were on our 15th and 16th miles. The lighting at the end of the day was phenomenal. I look forward to returning here next summer.

On the way back, we spotted a small herd of elk along FR113 before the Sunrise ski resort.
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