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Magdalena Crest Trail to North Baldy - 0 members in 3 triplogs have rated this an average 0 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Aug 04 2012
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 Guides 1
 Routes 123
 Photos 19,480
 Triplogs 873

71 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
South Baldy Peak, NM 
South Baldy Peak, NM
 
Hiking avatar Aug 04 2012
rwstorm
Hiking2.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
After getting a look at the situation on the top of the mountain Thursday afternoon, I went back to my motel room in Socorro and hung out in town for a couple of days. I also gave NM Tech a call to see about the locked gate and access to the Langmuir Lab. They informed me the gate stays locked almost all the time, but that the area beyond was open to hiking. So that meant I was going to drive back up Saturday morning to check things out before heading home. I parked at the small lot for the Crest Trail and walked the road past the new observatory over to the lightning lab. I have a good memory from my first visit to the lab back in 1993. I walked in, signed the visitor log, and began talking with the receptionist. She said she was from Wyoming and was working there for the summer. I told her that a friend, David Shaul, back in Tucson was associated with the Shaul and Grams ranching families in Wyoming. Imagine my surprise when she informed me that David is her uncle! :o Small world indeed. 8)

On this day, there were people inside the lab, but I didn't go in, just content walking around. I first found out about this place from a NOVA TV special on lightning research that was partly filmed here. Being a weather geek I of course had to visit, plus being on a high mountain made it even better! :D

After walking to the lab, I headed back down the road to finally hike to the top of South Baldy. You wouldn't want to be doing that if thunderstorms were around! Then it was back to the car and a short drive down the road to do a small portion of the Timber Peak Trail. Thus ended four days in the Socorro area, one of my favorite places in New Mexico.

Back in 1942, a B-17 bomber crashed into North Baldy Peak just short of the top, while on a training flight.

B-17 Crash http://www.caminorealheritage.org/PH/0107_b17.pdf

Langmuir Laboratory http://langmuir.nmt.edu/

Magdalena Ridge Observatory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalena_Ridge_Observatory_Interferometer
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Aug 02 2012
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 Guides 1
 Routes 123
 Photos 19,480
 Triplogs 873

71 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Copper Canyon Trail #10, NM 
Copper Canyon Trail #10, NM
 
Hiking avatar Aug 02 2012
rwstorm
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Drove over to hang out for a few days in the Magdalena Mountains and Socorro. First night I camped at Water Canyon Campground, followed by two nights in a motel in Socorro. I have camped there several times over the years, but this was my first time at the relocated campground. The former location was primo, but is now just for day use. The primary objective this trip was to drive up to see the new telescope up on Magdalena Ridge and visit the Langmuir Lightning Research Lab, which dates to 1963. I last was to the lightning lab back in 1993 and the last time I drove the road to the top was in 2003 to do the South to North Baldy hike. There is new construction going on up top associated with the observatory. Otherwise things are much the same as years ago, except the gate has been beefed up and remains locked pretty much all the time now. The gate is a short ways beyond the parking area for the North Baldy trail. Though you normally can't drive all the way to the lab anymore, walking in is allowed. You just don't want to be doing this during times when lightning research including balloon and rocket launches are happening (into active thunderstorms)! :scared:

After camping, I drove a short way to the Copper Canyon trailhead for the hike. This trail goes all the way up the canyon, heading in a south to southwest direction toward the Crest Trail near South Baldy. It starts out around 7000 feet and eventually reaches about 10,300 feet where it hits the crest. I went about 3 miles up, turning around at 9000 feet, just before reaching an old miner's cabin and fork in the trail (the real steep part starts there). Since it was a pretty hot day, I was glad to be hiking in the shaded canyon.

At the beginning of the hike, the trail skirts by some private property and old buildings and meadows associated with mining and ranching from days gone by. About 2 miles in you encounter periodic water in the canyon as it climbs toward the crest.

Following the hike I drove up the road to the locked gate by South Baldy to look around and take some photos. Thunderstorms were sparse today, but they finally started putting down some rain as I drove down the mountain. This is an awesome narrow road with fantastic views! It is well graded, but you should have high clearance (and preferably 4x4). Probably wouldn't be much fun during a downpour. :o

Once down, it was off to the motel in Socorro. I decided I would come back up the mountain Saturday morning on my way home to Tucson and walk the mile or so from the gate to the lightning lab, plus check out the new astronomy stuff. Also, I wanted to finally bag South Baldy Peak (10,783 ft), which is a short side trip off the Crest Trail.
Fauna
Fauna
Ladybug beetle
Culture
Culture
Wooden Dwelling
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Jun 16 2003
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 123
 Photos 19,480
 Triplogs 873

71 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Magdalena Crest Trail to North BaldySouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jun 16 2003
rwstorm
Hiking11.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Hiking11.00 Miles   5 Hrs   5 Mns   2.16 mph
1,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
ksalmi
Here's a "blast from the past" hike for you. Met my hiking friend Karen, who was already in New Mexico visiting her brother, at the Water Canyon Campground between Socorro and Magdalena. In 2003 this campground was very nice, nestled in the lower part of the canyon before FR235 starts its steep climb up the mountain ending at well over 10,000 feet near the Langmuir Lightning Research Lab. The campground has since been moved and "improved," but like some so-called improvements, this was a step in the wrong direction in my opinion.

The Magdalena Crest trailhead starts near the research lab by South Baldy (10,783 feet). The hike follows the ridge of the range for about 4 miles until it ends at North Baldy Peak at 9,858 feet. Fine views prevail as you are in and out of forest cover. We started at 8 am and made it to North Baldy at 1035 am. After finishing the hike at 105 pm, we headed down the mountain and drove over to camp north of Silver City.

On Tuesday, the 17th, we hiked up to the Signal Peak Lookout north of Pinos Altos and talked to the fire watch there about conditions in the Gila. There were a number of fires burning there at the time, and since it was June before the monsoon, everyone was on alert. Ironically, we told him that so far things were quiet over in southern Arizona in the Coronado. We left there around 11 am and headed back home to Tucson, arriving about 330 pm. No smoke was evident anywhere as we got back. But watching the 5 o'clock news, it was mentioned that a new fire was being reported up near Mt. Lemmon. I looked out the front door and could see faint smoke on the mountain. Thus began the Aspen Fire, that ended up burning much of the Catalinas including the village of Summerhaven.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
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average hiking speed 2.16 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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