3 comments on “Madera Canyon – Vault Mine / Agua Caliente Loop

  1. Our hike began at the Old Baldy trailhead in Madera Canyon. Ralph explained how the boys set up camp there in the early afternoon when the weather was warm and pleasant with no rain or snow in the forecast. They had already hiked about a mile from where Mike Early’s father John dropped them off at the old Santa Rita Lodge. We hiked the Old Baldy trail to Josephine Saddle just as the boys did. At the saddle we paused for pictures at the Boy Scout memorial sign. From Josephine Saddle the Old Baldy trail continues up to Baldy Saddle and Mt. Wrightson, the boys’ intended destination. Ralph told us that on the Boy Scouts’ hike they began to see dark clouds hanging low over the peak and as a 12-year-old he was excited to think they would be hiking into them. None of the boys made it to the top of the peak. Instead the group split up before reaching Baldy Saddle with three returning safely down the Old Baldy trail to their campsite. The other three – Mike Early, David Greenberg and Michael LeNoue – were not so lucky. Though it is not known for certain what happened after the group separated, Ralph believes the other three boys most likely continued up the trail for only a short distance before also turning around. From Josephine Saddle, our group walked just a few more feet up the Old Baldy trail to the point where it meets the trailhead for Temporal Gulch. We paused there as Ralph explained how the three ill-fated Scouts could very easily have made a wrong turn onto the Temporal Gulch trail as they were returning down the Old Baldy trail on what had become a very dark and cloudy night.

  2. Hey great write up, was always curious about those boy scouts. I agree the Linda Vista Trail is rather steep and scary in places. I’ve hiked a good distance up the Vault Mine Trail, its a good climb but nothing like Linda Vista, much safer and a lot cooler too!

  3. This thread is old but I thought I’d comment after our hike of this loop yesterday. We did this loop the other way around…up Old Baldy and DOWN Vault Mine Trail. We were loving this trail until we hit the Vault Mine. It was dangerously steep to descend with much loose rock, dirt and gravel under foot. There were areas where getting any kind of foothold was almost impossible. I can’t say I would have enjoyed climbing up it either because of the fast elevation but going down really felt treacherous. Trekking poles would have helped but we don’t routinely use them. Anyway, just wanted to add this note in case new visitors stop by this post (great post by the way).

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