March 23, 2016
Yesterday, Joe and I headed south of Tucson to Madera Canyon for a hike to Josephine Saddle in the Santa Rita Mountains. Two trails take you to the saddle, the steeper 2.2 mile route up the Old Baldy Trail or the longer, less steep 4 mile route up the Super Trail. Either way, it is a cool mountain hike and well worth the effort.
|Madera Canyon Road.|
Both trailheads are located at the end of Madera Canyon Trail.
After climbing the hill from the parking lot, Old Baldy tucks into the hilly forest.
Joe and I find it is much easier on our knees going up steep climbs than down them so we started on Old Baldy. Yes, it is steep, rocky and strenuous...a 2080 gain in elevation.
Most of Old Baldy is well maintained, but there are areas " just a few hard rocks away from mountain climbing".
|Sometimes the trail looked like this...|
|sometimes it looked like this...|
|and sometimes we climbed rocks like this.|
As we climbed, scrub bushes changed to ponderosas, oaks and sycamore trees. Beautiful giant trees protecting the forest floor...
On occasion, these giants opened up to share views as far as the eyes could see.
At the top of Josephine Saddle is a memorial that marks the place where three young Boy Scouts died during a sudden snowstorm in 1958.
Here, we connected to the Super Trail for our route back to Madera Canyon.
Even though Super Trail is longer, it is much easier with wonderful vistas and a few surprises.
|I think this is a yellow lupine.|
|This manzanita has already flowered making these red berries.|
|The first of two spiny lizards we saw.|
|We saw lots of Indian Paint Brush blooming.|
|A few spots of snow left...|
|The second spiny lizard...what a beauty.|
|A tiny waterfall...we followed this creek the last 2 miles.|
Either direction, Joe and I would recommend this 6.7 mile hike if you are near Tucson. It's a great way to spend the day ! Until next time...