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Mogollon Baldy Crest Trail - 2 members in 1 triplog have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Aug 12 2016
FJRpilot
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 Photos 21
 Triplogs 1

63 male
 Joined Aug 15 2016
 El Paso
Mogollon Baldy Crest TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Aug 12 2016
FJRpilot
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   1.33 mph
1,500 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We planned to spend three days to hike out to Mogollon Baldy and back. Day 1 we planned to hike to Hummingbird saddle since we would be arriving at the trailhead late. Day 2 we planned to hike to Mogollon baldy and back to Humming bird saddle. Day 3 we would hike back to the trailhead.

We had heard that the 2012 Whitewater Baldy Complex fire had impacted this trail but we were stunned as to the extent of the destruction to the forest. Starting from Sandy Point, you enter into some old growth that survived the 2012 fire. About 1/4 mile up the trail you hit the first burned area. This lasted for about 1/2 mile where you exit the burn and enter into a beautiful mature Aspen grove. The trail through the grove only lasts another 1/4 mile or so, at which point you are again in the 2012 burn. The remainder of the trail from that point until hummingbird saddle stays continuously in the burn.

It's been 4 years since the fire, the forest still looks like a bomb has gone off. Most of the old Douglas Fir's still stand like skeleton's, rattling in the wind. You can see many that are shattering as they continue to dry out and age is bringing them down. The Crest trail itself, has not been maintained, while it is visible in large part by following downed trees that were obviously cut with saws, the trail is washed out in many places due to erosion from summer monsoon rains. There is a lot of mud on the trail itself and there is a significant amount of small Aspen saplings that are filling in available spaces. We didn't see a lot of pine coming back. Mostly Aspen with a sprinkling of Spruce here and there. In 20 years this trail should be thru a beautiful Aspen forest which should be spectacular in the fall.

Because the forest is so open, the wild flowers were spectacular. I have never seen so many different varieties, so dense. The crest trail has returned to being a wildlife trail and because of the mud we saw significant tracks of Mexican Grey Wolf, Lion, Elk and Deer.

We are Hammock campers and as we got closer and closer to the saddle, we really worried that we would be unable to find some mature trees that had survived to tie our hammocks onto. As we came down into Hummingbird saddle, we noticed a small grove of pine and spruce that had survivedthe fire and were able to make a relatively comfortable camp to spend the night. We were able to find Hummingbird spring but the Whitewater trail (207) was so over grown that it almost doesn't exist anymore. The spring was flowing and we were able to replenish our hiking needs as well as our cooking needs for the evening. That night we slept in a forest that was almost deathly quiet. Hardly any sounds until a thunderstorm blew in and the winds started pushing dead trees over. It was definitely distracting worrying about having a tree or dead branches come down on your camp (or while you were hiking.)

The morning of day 2, we decided to cut this trip short. As we hiked down into the saddle, we could see that we would again be hiking into a forest that had been severely impacted by the 2012 fire and we were concerned about falling trees and finding suitable trees to hang from. My limited experience with Forrest fires taught me that rarely does a fire consume an entire forest. Usually there are stands of trees that survive, little islands of life that continue to echo the forest that used o exist. The Whitewater Baldy fire (with the exception of a few trees on Hummingbird saddle) looks like it has destroyed a significant part of the forest that once existed on these mountains. It will be years before a forest of any kind will grace these slopes again. We will probably never see a mature Fir forest again.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
To many to identify... But the wild raspberry's were delicious.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hummingbird Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Flowing
_____________________
average hiking speed 1.33 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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