Hiking Mt. Baldy Wilderness

Parallel the East Fork of the Little Colorado for the first half of the journey.
Parallel the East Fork of the Little Colorado for the first half of the journey.

A few hours into the trip, my boots start punching through snow. Hard to believe it was 90°F when I left Phoenix this spring morning. But if there’s novelty underfoot, there’s beauty ahead: The more I climb, the better my view of the verdant high country of the Colorado Plateau, its folds and mounds glowing in the afternoon light and slowly fading into the Blue Range. I’m on a 16-mile loop across the wooded slopes of Arizona’s second-highest peak, 11,421-foot Mt. Baldy, exploring the headwaters of the Little Colorado River. I’ll follow it as it gains speed and volume, flowing northwest to where it will join the Colorado River and course through the Grand Canyon. Where I…

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