Over the weekend, I tried a trail I’d not yet attempted, Old Baldy trail to Mt. Wrightson, the peak of the Santa Rita mountain range south of Tucson. It was exactly as I believe a true hike should be: long, beautiful, and with a feeling of satisfied exhaustion at its end.
Old Baldy Trail is not the only path to Wrightson, but it’s one of the shorter starting points. The total path is approximately 9 miles roundtrip and 4,000 feet of elevation gain. It was absolutely stunning all the way through; I can confidently say it’s a new favorite hike in the Tucson area.
My friends and I were not exactly prepared for the hike, unfortunately. We did not plan to try to peak Wrightson when we began the hike. We expected, correctly, that the peak would cover the trail in snow and ice, so we would probably not be able to reach the peak. We could have made it to the top of the mountain… with the right gear. The trail was completely covered in snow after 3 miles in and, for a portion of the day, was just icy enough to be discomforting. Because the trail was so fun and because it was such a beautiful day, we went much farther than expected (0.9 from the summit), but we’ll have to return when the snow melts for a more practical attempt at the summit.
It’s halfway through the week, and I am ready for Quarter 4. I am ready for the glowing, promising light of the year’s last quarter shining my way. My motivation for teaching has been decreasing at the exact same pace that my renewed love for hiking has increased. I will be repeatedly searching for more trails like this: more time in the mountains, more time outdoors to ease my mind as I wade my way through the remainder of a low-motivation semester. As John Muir once wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”