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Madera Canyon
Santa Rita Mountains
June 20-21, 2020
by Tamar Gottfried
Bog Springs    GPS Map 
Bog Springs   Elevation 
Wrightson   GPS Map 
Wrightson   Elevation 

In 2019, the Trailblazers got a taste of Madera Canyon, summiting the 4000 ft of Mt. Wrightson one day and slogging up 1500 more feet of elevation gain to Bog and Kent Springs the next. We all left craving more time in this magical place, so this year we planned a sleepover. On Friday afternoon, two tent campers, one car camper, and two RV-ers joined two cabin renters at Bog Springs campground. This lovely campground, once featured in Arizona Highways magazine, has only 13 sites and they are popular. Luckily, we were able to secure two spots.

We enjoyed the moderate weather, lush landscape, and mountain views while watching an orange sunset and enjoying visits from deer and wild turkeys.

Let’s take a break by the trail. [photo by Mohammed]

The next morning, anticipating 90 degree heat by 11 AM, we hit the trail by 6:30 AM. The shade and temperatures were nice as we made our way up to over 6600 ft elevation in 2.7miles. A stop at Bog Springs for a break was followed by another snack break at Kent Springs. At this point, three of our hikers were heading back to the campsite. Four of us were up for more adventure and took a detour on the Four Springs Trail, which eventually makes its way to the Florida Saddle. We went another mile and 600 ft of elevation and saw interesting flowers and plants, great views of Mt. Wrightson and the valley below, and even included a shaky trip across a field of purple boulders. We then turned around and went back to Kent Springs and down the trail by way of Sylvester Spring.

Here’s the Bog Spring sign. [photo by Mohammed]
trough trough
There’s a rectangular concrete trough. [photos by Mohammed]
Wilderness sign. [photo by Mohammed]
A nice lazy afternoon and evening was enjoyed by all and the two of us who splurged on a cabin at Madera Kubo even baked brownies to share. We all enjoyed the luxurious patio created by the RV, with a nice rug and shade and places to socially distantly gather.

The next morning, we packed up and converged at the Mt. Wrightson trailhead. We started up the Super Trail by 6:30, enjoying the more gradual climb to the Josephine Saddle (1600 ft in 3.7 miles instead of in 2.7 miles on the Old Baldy Trail). We all reached the saddle and enjoyed a snack break. Two hikers felt so good that they continued on to the summit and were able to reach the summit and were back at their car by 1:30 PM. The rest of us took our time going down the Old Baldy Trail. It was a mellow hike of 6.5 miles in a cool and beautiful forest and we had plenty of time to make it back to the valley in time for Father’s Day festivities.

This looks like a good spot. [photo by Mohammed]
Mt. Wrightson. [photo by Mohammed]
We’re gettin’ high (topographically). [photo by Mohammed]
The rocks are so soft and cushiony.
[photo by Mohammed]
Come on up the trail, you all.
[photo by Mohammed]
red turkey
The flora and fauna will amaze you. [photos by Mohammed]

We are in love with Madera Canyon and will surely return. Next time: Florida Saddle Trail and Agua Caliente.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated June 24, 2020