Saturday, December 18, 2010

Occasional Other Matters: Two Legged Adventure (Mount Wrightson)

If not for my inability to ride after dark, this day most definitely would have included my motorcycle. Alas a day in late fall is not long enough to comfortably confine all these activities to the daylight hours.

The activities, in order of appearance:

Drive to Madera Canyon, begrudgingly in the car.  Prior moto trip to the canyon discussed here.

Climb Mount Wrightson, the steep way up, the long way down.  (I know, I know...  "Stop.  Think.  There must be a harder way.")
Ascend Old Baldy Trail - 5.4 miles to the top, over 4000 ft elevation gain.  Hear me roar, I made it to the peak in 2 hours, 45 minutes!
Descend Super Trail - 8.2 miles back to the trail head.  The prettier of the two trails, in my opinion.  Solve geocache puzzle at Josphine's Saddle.

Find actual geocache.

Drive home.  Yep, it got dark before I got home.  Good call on taking the car. 

Photographic evidence:

Bellows spring was frozen.

A teeny tiny perfect autumn leaf as opposed to the gigantic enormous perfect fall leaf I'm holding in this post.

My spaghetti squash sun-dried tomato herb muffin (savory, not sweet) contemplates the view at Baldy Saddle.  Who says you can't put spaghetti squash in muffins or bread?  If you can use zucchini, why not?  (Recipes still under development, but I'm getting darn close...)

Arrival at the summit!  The frozen spring surely tipped you off:  It's cold!  I wore leggings, hiking pants, silk underlayer, turtle neck, "soft shell" jacket, gloves and hat, and didn't find myself wanting to remove any layers at any time.  I even wore my boots, which I never do.  I'm a confirmed Teva hiker, regardless of terrain, since boots invariably leave my toes all bruised.  Turns out this latest pair of boots is no exception.  Maybe some day I'll get hiking boots that fit correctly, but I'm not into buying pair after pair, only to find out these too don't suit my strange (narrow at the heel, wide at the ball) feet.  I can ride in them without a problem, I just can't hike in them.

The summit offered gorgeous vistas in each direction, and none of my pictures really captured them.  Here's a photo from the top anyway.

Making my way back down via the Super Trail.

A commemorative sign at Josphine's saddle.  On the date shown (purely by coincidence I was hiking on the anniversary of the tragedy), a boy scout troop camping and hiking in the area was caught in a freak snowstorm that dumped several feet of snow in the Santa Ritas.  Three boys died.  No one hikes Mt. Wrightson without checking the weather anymore.  This sign is one of five I needed to locate to solve a puzzle that would yield the coordinates of the geocache I was hunting.

A pretty spot not too far from my geocache find.  (The geocache itself was not on the trail, but further down Madera Canyon.)

The moon rises over the Santa Ritas.  Good night moon.  Good night mountains.  How lucky I was to have this day!

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