Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mt Wrightson 03/27/10

Mt Wrightson (Madera Canyon)
Santa Rita Mountains Arizona
Elevation 9453ft
Mileage 12.4
Time 5:29
AEG 4033ft

I organized this trek with my hiking group (AHOTE) to hike the Old Baldy Trail to the summit of Mt Wrightson. In my opinion, this is one of Arizona's best, and most scenic hikes. Two and a half hours South of Phoenix, this prominent peak stands alone in the middle of the desert, roughly twenty-five miles from the Mexico border. What's odd is the mph speed limit signs change to kilometers this far south. We reached the trailhead around 8:00am ready for the challenge this trail offers, little did we know what was in store for us near the top. Roughly 2.5 miles into the climb, existing snow covered the trail. And I mean covered it, completely. We marched along over footprints from those before us and each step was a guessing game, "would the snow give way?" Sometimes it did, sinking up to our waist at times. I learned a valuable lesson not to follow too close behind my friend Veron, as he slipped and the small tree he was holding onto snapped back and whipped me in the face. I felt a sharp pain in my ear, like a bee sting, and my other friend Brian started laughing. I branch from that tree pierced through and broke off in my ear. What are the odds? The final ascent was no walk in the park. No trail, bad footing, total exposure, and howling winds made the climb a memorable one (and not in a good way). We did it though, when the logical choice would have been to turn back, we pressed on and reached the summit in tact. Great hike.

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