So many trails yet to hike, so many peaks yet to reach but whenever a hiking friend expresses interest in doing a challenging hike that they would not do alone, I am usually game. So, probably my 8th or so time to the "Lost Dutchman State Park" to escort a couple of friends to the Flat Iron. Above, the western edge of the Superstitions.
The climbing begins almost immediately via the Siphon Draw trail. The poppies have not yet opened but soon, the slopes will be inundated with the flowers.
Doesn't take long to gain enough elevation to create wonderful views. The Goldfield Mountains in the distance. The woman shown told her worried husband she would not hike unless there were others also on the trail and.....
….the trail was swarming with swarms of hikers, swarming, every where. There were at times bottlenecks where you just had to wait for people coming through a narrow gap, either going up or down. Never seen so many on this trail but this was a Saturday and the weather was perfect for hiking and also, we are on the edge of the 5th largest US city.
The upper portion of the Siphon Trail, rugged and steep.
A cleft around which people are waiting for friends to emerge from the draw. This is a fine day hike destination and some people turn around while others....
…..plunge into a ravine and begin the very steep climb to the Flat Iron. I regrouped with my hiking buddies and on we went.
Yes, rugged would be an apt description for the west side of the Superstitions. The east side is forested and an entirely different look.
Ugh, still so far to go as we follow a ravine that eventually emerges left of the Flat Iron.
Not really a hike but instead a full body workout climbing experience. I reach the head of the ravine where there is a 12' wall, scramble up it and.....
….wait. A few years ago, there was a secret bypass to avoid the wall climb and now, most people hang a left on what is now an unsecret and well traveled bypass.
Now we are hiking on a well groomed trail toward the Flat Iron but checkout the crowd emerging from the ravine behind us.
I pose for an image, rather pleased because no one died or was injured during the ascent nor later the descent. At least in my group. Saw a bloody knee or two and a guy fell hard but his pack took some of the impact.
Oh man, the views! Superstition Peak, center right.
We travel the gradual ascent to the tip of the Flat Iron and then.....
….look down on what we have traveled.
Four chipmunks scramble around, gathering crumbs, oblivious to the exposure.
After a few minutes, we begin the bone jarring descent. Lot of cacti growing from the surface.
We regroup at the bottom and take a last look at what we accomplished, 6.4 miles with 3200' of climbing. Fun but legs are feeling the accumulated impacts so must get on the bike and work out the kinks.