This would be my 6th time up to the Flat Iron, there in the upper middle but the group of 5 with whom I was hiking the 2.9 mile, 2900' elevation gain hike were not stopping there. We would hike to that raggedly looking area just to the left of the Flat Iron. I had not been there before and looked forward to it while hiking with Vagabond Jeff, Donna, Jody and Gary Tenen, famous for having discovered Kirchner Caverns. I marvel that someone, while bushwhacking with a friend in the wilderness and finding a hole in the ground, would choose to explore it. I would simply assume it was a den of rattlers, waiting for me to poke my head in.
I was content to hang with the group but some young people caught us, someone said, "Let's let the kids go through." and that was that. I decided to turn it into a fitness hike and turned on the jets. Reaching the amazing start of an extended slick rock area with canyon walls soaring to the right and left, I paused to take this image, which understates the steepness of the hike, as usual. The Flat Iron begins to dominate the skyline and looks so far away and so high.
The canyon narrows, the climb becomes very steep, bouldery, loose, hard to follow in places.....the trail has it all and the views, geesh.
At last, I reached the top of the canyon and the infamous 12' wall. I climbed it, walked to the saddle there in the middle where there are a couple of fire rings and stopped my watch. Wow, 1:24 and a good 15 minutes better than my previous best time. I walked out to the point and marveled at the views to the north, west and south.
Jeff and group arrived and led me higher, through a boulder field and ultimately, to the top, now with views 360 degrees. That is Superstition Mountain center/right. Jeff explained that is a good day hike destination from a different trail and so I think I will do that this week, prior to my return to the Motherland, also known as Ohio. Check out the hoodoos, the rock spires which frequent the area.
The Flat Iron looks so small from this vantage point.
In the forefront, the rocks frame "Weavers Needle" which looks so different from this perspective. I have stood at the base of that and it soars above me, a huge monolith and singular feature in the landscape but from here, it hardly stands out. The white shirted individual to the right is Jody, who earlier had a nasty fall and cut to her leg.
Jeff, a retired Army helicopter pilot, proposed to long time girlfriend, Donna. A very neat scene and I was glad I was there to witness. Two very fun people with whom to hike.
We began climbing down from the boulders and the above caught my eye, almost like the smiling face of an animal, looking to the left. Below, a better view of the slick rock area and people are still scaling the steeps as we descended. I forgot to restart my Garmin but should have had around 7 miles of strenuous hiking.