Dutch John Spring (Mount Wrightson Wilderness) 12-Jan-2022

The last time we were able to visit our friends Heidi and Bob in Arizona was in early 2020. Then the virus struck. Bob turned 100 last year ๐Ÿ˜€ and, while a bit frail, is still sharp. They are both deeply concerned about contracting the virus, so we worked out a non-contact protocol for a short visit. We stood (masked) in the their backyard, said hello to Bob through the window, and talked with Heidi (also masked) from a distance of over 10 feet (3 m). We only stayed for a half-hour or so. Not like our visits in the Before Times, but at least we got to see and talk to them in person. ๐Ÿ˜

After our visit, we had time for a short hike in nearby Madera Canyon and the Mount Wrightson Wilderness. On previous visits we hiked a loop past Bog Springs and a longer loop past Rogers Rock. This time we decided to hike the short, but steep, Dutch John Trail #91 to the two springs shown on the Forest Service map. We were lucky to be here on a weekday because there are very few day use parking spots at this trailhead (several spots are reserved for campground users).

Getting oriented at the trailhead
Up the trail
And through the gully
Silverleaf oaks

About 0.6 miles (1 km) from the parking lot, we came to the first of the springs in the canyon. This one has a sign but is not named on the Forest Service map. It features an old trough that’s rusted and bone dry. But, judging from the width of the trail up to here, this is as far as most people go.

Only the lower spring features a sign
Lower Dutch John Spring
Lower Dutch John Spring

But the trail continues past this spring, so we followed it up for 0.4 miles (0.6 km) to the upper spring – the one named on the Forest Service map. This one was still running and had managed to create a small pool of water.

Onward to the upper spring
At the upper named spring
Flowing water! ๐Ÿ™‚
And a few little pools of open water

Heading back, we saw a short use trail that took us out of the canyon for a view to the west. The pointed summit of Baboquivari (climbed in 1987) was easily visible from there.

Baboquivari (arrow) to the west
Heading back
Across a gully littered with colorful rocks
Back through last season’s tall grasses

This was a short (2 miles (3.2 km) round-trip), but steep (1,030 feet (314 m)), hike through oaks, sycamores, and junipers in an area rich with bird life. Finding open water was a special treat, as was our view out to the west. Not a bad way to round-out a short (but sweet) visit to two long-time friends. ๐Ÿ˜

Our short hike to Dutch John Spring
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