A long time Ohio friend, Belinda, let me know she would be in Phoenix on business, would have an extra day, was planning to hike the Grand Canyon in April, wanted to check out AZ hiking prior to that so.....I depart Oro Valley at 5am, drive across the desert, pick her up and arrive at the Lost Dutchman State Park.
Above her right shoulder, the infamous Flat Iron. Many dreams of summitting have been dashed on the steep slopes so I thought reaching the top of the Siphon Draw, kind of the midpoint, would make for a good hike if we ran out of energy for the top.
The Siphon Draw trail ascends the western side of the awesome Superstition Wilderness. We mostly hike in the shade but to the northwest, the views are terrific with a nice contrast between the sunlight and shade.
Soon, our destination comes into a better view. Did I ever tell you about the two guys who sat on the edge, had a few beers and later their bodies were found at the bottom of the Flat Iron, heads driven into their stomach cavities? Yeah, probably not. Well, put that out of your mind as we continue our story.
Walls adorn the side of the canyon as we......
...continue our ascent. This is a very popular Phoenix (actually east of Mesa near the town of Apache Junction) area hike. Not as popular as the more centrally located Camelback and Squaw Peaks but always a busy day on this trail.
Ah oh, the sun is gaining on us as it lights a rock feature. I like this image!
My trooper friend, who has been working 12 hour days as a CFO at a manufacturing company, is doing well but the steeper slopes are beginning to take a toll.
The Flat Iron is closer and so too the marvelous Siphon Draw, there in the middle, bottom.
We begin our climb and it is way steeper then the image suggests, way, way steeper.
Having reached the top of the Draw, we decided to abandon the Flat Iron for a more reasonable destination, the "mini Flat Iron" which is more of a rolling ascent. We pick up "John"who joins our revised mission and after awhile, reach this point with great views.
After a short break we head back. Above, The Flat Iron, center right with the ravine to the left that is the approach to the top. My first attempt at reaching the Flat Iron, maybe 6 years ago, I made a wrong turn and ended up where we hiked today so it was good to revisit. Having reached the Flat Iron probably 10-11 times, it did not bother me that we did not make it today. As some of you know, I get a kick out of exposing people to these unique hiking destinations.
Check out the arch!
We reach the top of the Siphon Draw and begin our descent. Kind of tricky but I learned the best way to descend is the zig-zag line so some of the steepness is removed. Ugh, I hate how it looks like a flat walk.
The descent is in full sun now and the temperatures is creeping higher.....I love it but my companion is not such a fan. We finished with 5.75 miles and 2800' of climbing so a good day of hiking even without reaching our initial goal.
Driving back to OV, I take a picture of the western end of the Superstitions (called the Supes by locals). So many stories about the place, the lost gold and subsequent searches, avoided by the Apaches because it was considered haunted, deaths, bushwhacking's, practically weekly missions by SAR teams to rescue distressed hikers, my kind of place and fun.