Our group of six arrived in the town of Tortilla Flat at 8am and found ample parking. At this hour, the saloon/restaurant and other businesses had not yet opened but soon, finding a parking spot would be a challenge. We got on to a faint social trail and began a fairly steep climb.
What amazing views to the north as we climb higher, getting a look at St. Rt. 88, aka Apache Trail.
We close on the first of several ridges.
At a second ridge I note that the "Fragile Arch" is no more. I pointed its foundation to the group and wondered what led to its demise. In the distance, a third ridge to gain but first we would drop, stay to the left of the massive middle formation and then climb....
....much of it through a narrow ravine.
An opening to our right gave awesome views to the west. Upon gaining the third ridge, we dropped into a bouldery ravine and followed it for awhile before breaking out onto a left face slope.
There was no trail to follow, just moderate bushwhacking, during which I almost stepped on the above, non venomous snake.
Our route followed a reverse C shape and eventually, our destination, Geronimo Head on the left. From this angle, very nondescript but upon reaching it....
....wow! One could stay here for hours and just gaze on all that is offered for our viewing pleasure.
We drop our packs and take a well deserved break. The main highlight of this hike of course is.....
....looking down on Battleship Mountain, the yellow colored formation in the center. The ship is climbed on the left but from the other side and then the real fun begins as hikers work their way to the far right. What great fun that is.
As the group lounged, I was thinking about taking a different way back to the aforementioned third ridge where we would find the social trail to lead us to the trail head. Looking at the above image, I could make out a two year old burn area that I thought would provide easier walking so we gathered our things and headed for it.
We stayed high above the boulder filled ravine but eventually had to drop into it and thus began a fun, boulder hopping experience. We got back on the social trail and finished our 5.8 mile, 1900' elevation gain hike. Then....
....being thirsty and hungry, we entered a restaurant and went....
....belly up to the bar where I sat directly across from an Ohio license plate, my home state.
Heading back to the parking area, we passed what claims to be a stage coach from the early 1900's. Wow, how uncomfortable must it have been to sit in that.