Carrie Nation

This is a less traveled trail that breaks off of Old Baldy near the trailhead and connects up with the Agua Caliente Trail at the head of Madera Canyon.  Officially the trail ends at a mine site as noted by a sign post, but it narrows and continues up the canyon to the right of this sign.  There are a few trail splits beyond this point that may be confusing but I just followed the more obvious route, I'm not sure where the other routes lead. 

September 6, 2009
A huge thunderstorm was churning just south of the Santa Ritas as I started this hike so I wasn't sure if it would be cut short or get interesting.  Unfortunately I rapidly came down with a cold near the top which made the descent difficult and rushed.  Came across nesting Elegant Trogon though, which was my first time seeing one.

Initially I thought there were a pair of Elegant Trogons, but thereafter I only saw either one or one at a time visiting its nest which is in the dead top of the sycamore on the right.  It would sit on a nearby branch for a bit and scan around with its head in an oddly slow manner before darting to the nest and diving in out of sight.  The chicks were audible the whole time making raspy sounding peeps.  Since it didn't stay still or visible for too long it was difficult to get good photos of, plus I didn't want to be a disturbance.  Its irridescent blue-black back and olive green tail are evident in this photo on the lower left branch.

Looking around from its perch with a grub or caterpillar in the first photo and flying to its nest in the second which is the best I could get of its cherry red body and shows its unusual profile.

Took several tries to get these photos since it popped in and out of the nest in about a second.  Typical Madrean pine-oak forest here with Silverleaf Oak in front of and Apache Pine behind the nest.

Looking from near the junction with the Agua Caliente Trail to the northeast at Agua Caliente Saddle, Pete Mountain, and some thunderstorms beyond. 

I hiked a little way towards Agua Caliente Saddle since I hadn't been in that area before and came across the large double trunked Gambel Oak in the first photo, which is one of the largest I've noticed.  The second is the view east across Madera Canyon to Mt Wrightson rising above Jack Mountain, which the Carrie Nation Trail runs up along the foot of.  The slopes surrounding Mt Wrightson and the crest to its left have been left almost entirely treeless by the Florida Fire.  Josephine Saddle is hidden behind Jack Mountain and Josephine Peak is just out of view to the right.

A long look up the pine covered slopes from the descent on Old Baldy Trail to the summit about 3000' above as clouds start to billow up again.  The pines grade from Chihuahua and Apache Pine seen in the foreground, to Southwestern White and Ponderosa (Arizona) Pine on the upper slopes.