Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Madera Canyon

On Monday, my sister, my brother-in-law, and did some hiking in Madera Canyon, Arizona. We took a 2.5 mile trail up 1700 feet to the Josephine Saddle, then a 3.7 mile trail back down. The going would have been significantly faster if it were not for all the ice on the trail at higher elevations, which made middle part of the trip interesting/exciting/terrifying, depending on how you choose to look at it.

I took quite a bit of video along the way, but editing that takes a lot of time and a much better computer than I've got with me at the moment, so I think I'm just going to steal pictures from my sister and post those. One thing I greatly appreciated throughout the hike was how pleasant the other hikers we passed were. The first person we stopped to talk with on our way up turned out to be a graduate of Oregon State University (small world) class of '65. He let us know that the last third of the trail was icy and that the way we had chosen to go down would be less so. How little we knew what problems this would cause!

Looking up toward Mt Wrightston, far right behind the tree, from the beginning of the trail. If I had to guess, I'd say Josephine Saddle is lower, behind the tree.

The ridge line left (northeast) of the peak in the previous image.

By this point we were in the snow/ice, it is slippery. Flat ice is much better than tilted ice! You can see Mt. Wrightston  in the upper right. The saddle is probably still too far to the right to see.

I'm mainly including this one just to illustrate how beautiful it was up there. Everything is suffused with a soft, blue glow. You can also see one of the trees we needed to climb over in the icy stretch.

Here I am from the saddle, as far as we went. Look how much closer the top of Mt. Wrightston is, so close...

As we went down Super Trail the scenery was much more desert-like. See the cactus... thingy... Ignore the snow!

This is not the peak toward which we were hiking, it  is west and a little north of Mt Wrightston. However, the trail we walked up is somewhere around/below the bottom of this photo, so you get the idea that the one we walked down was across the canyon from it.

To emphasize that this was, indeed, a desert, here are some of the little lizard thingies we saw sunning themselves on a rock. There were a lot more of them, and we passed another colony later on the way down. The difference in conditions between places having Eastern exposure, facing the sun, and places that did not was startling!

As we walked down, on the east face of the canyon, we saw some spectacular vistas which were obscured as we hiked up the west face. I believe that is Green Valley, where we were staying, you can see in the distance.

One last look up at the west face. I know this wasn't too near the end, as eventually we descended far enough that the sun was totally obscured and in returned to being somewhat chilly, but this is the last photo I could steal from my sister.

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