Group Hike to the Flat Iron

Twelve of us gather in the Lost Dutchman State Park at the Siphon Draw trail head.  It’s a long drive for everyone so I do what I can to make the drive worthwhile, including a promise to have cold beer for a post hike drink. I stopped in Catalina to buy the beer, removed it from the cooler when Amy asked if I needed ice.  Dang it!  I had forgotten to bring the cooler.  Above, the prominent feature in the distance is the Flat Iron.

Everyone appears happy (this is probably before I dashed their hopes of a cold beer).  I was wearing a bright red cap so that if anyone became lost, I’d be easier to spot.  Or, if I became lost, I’d be easier to find.

We climb steadily and at about mile 1, this wondrous sight comes into view. Big thanks to Amy for doing the captioning in her image.

The Siphon Draw is a surreal place.  From this point, our remaining climb will average 28%. It is an awesome mix of navigating through boulders and branches which provides a full body workout.

It being a Saturday, the trail is busy but not annoyingly so. Just a few dozen people with a permanent smile planted on their face, sharing the same experience.  I’m seated at the top of the Siphon Draw, shouting encouragement to my peers.  The final portion of the climb is really steep, having way too much pea gravel to further complicate the ascent.

Eugenia, a visitor from Canada, looks down canyon and in the distance, the Goldfield Mountains.  A whole different type of hiking over there, which is surprising considering how close they are to the Superstitions.  I was seated to the side of the trail as two of our group, Karen and Katherine, assuming I had kept going, kept going.  Probably half of the times I’ve done the hike I’ve ended up temporarily lost, off trail but they had no problem and arrived ahead of us.

A couple of hikers make good use of crevices to get out of the sun.

And so the scramble up one of three ravines that descend from the top, begins. In the distance, the base of the Flat Iron.  Climbers ascend the wall and occasionally, hang gliders jump from the top.

Reaching the top of the ravine is always a thrill and thankfully, the remaining distance to the peak is an easy hike.  I stayed here so I could show the gang there was an alternative to a 12′ wall.  Marc, tried both climbs and thought the wall was easier.  

The alternative is also steep as Katherine, Amy and Lorna scramble up.

Looking back from the Flat Iron from where we emerged from the ravine.  Not that long ago, finding my way back to the ravine was a challenge but a trail is now well worn and easy to follow.

Our group spreads out and advance as close to the edge as they dare.  The views are incredible.

Looking to the east we see Superstition Peak.  So many hikes yet to schedule.  I’ll be in CA and OH for most of May so between that and the expected heat, not many hiking opportunities remain for this spring.

Our serpentine trail is easily seen from where we stand.  Following a typical winter, the slopes would be covered with wild flowers but a drought persists.  Hope the monsoon season is normal.

Lorna, aka “Medusa”, smartly wears gloves as the descent requires a lot of hand contact with  a variety of rough surfaces.

So many interesting rock formations that prompt calls for naming them.  Some of us have very vivid imaginations.  We finish our hike with about 7 miles and 2700′ of climbing.  I had forecast a hike duration of 4 hours but missed it again by a significant margin.  Thankfully everyone had enough water.  Diane had thought too, and remembered to bring, beer in a cooler.  What a great hiking buddy as she offered one to me.  Then we…..

…stopped at the Hitching Post Saloon where several people had arrived via horseback to enjoy a band.  All the seats were taken inside so we sat…..

….outside in a covered wagon.  Great day with awesome people.

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Credits : Mark Cycling Blog

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