Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Let's just go to that rock"

Each time we have been at Lost Dutchman Superstition Search and Rescue has had a chance to exercise their helicopter by retrieving hikers from the Siphon Draw/Flatiron Trail.  The evening of March 10th they made at least four trips up the mountain, bringing back several people each time.

The rescue staging area is in the park, giving us a front-row seat to the action.

To quote from their website:

Siphon Draw Trail: 1.6 miles one way. A very scenic hike, this trail winds up into Siphon Draw Canyon. It is possible to continue hiking to the Flatiron (2.5 miles one way), although it is not a designated, maintained trail all the way. It's advised that only experienced hikers in good shape attempt to hike to the top, as the climb is steep and difficult to follow. Allow at least five hours to the Flatiron and back.

Here's a map of the trail.   See all of those little lines close together?  That means steep.  

Below is a picture of the area.  The helicopter was flying back into the canyon between the rocks: that is "Siphon Draw".  Flatiron is the promontory you can see in the back behind the draw.

We figured that we could get at least a ways up the mountain for some exercise.  Tom chose a cone-shaped rock to be our goal (circled below).

The morning of the 12th dawned cooler and overcast: a good day for a hike. Traci, who has done a great deal of hiking lately, came over to join us.

Starting the ascent you can see the campground disappearing below.


The start of the wilderness area.  "Abandon hope ye who enter here."

 Not seen at the campground elevation: blister beetles on the brittlebush.

You can see that we are getting closer to "the rock".

Globemallow, also sometimes called "Desert Hollyhock"


Eventually, we even passed it.  It turned out that the trail did not go to the rock, but passed on the north side of it.

We kept going.

Incredible views of the valley.  Note the hiker in the picture above to help give a scale of size and distance.  The rock that was the original goal is the lowest, in the center of the picture.

Massive boulders.

A dry waterfall.

"The Basin" is 1.6 miles in and as far as the regular trail goes.  We went about 1.5 miles and made our stopping place with several other more sane hikers on comfortable boulders overlooking The Basin.  Flatiron is clearly visible in the center of the picture above.  That was close enough for me.

From there we had a view of (mostly) younger and more foolhardy souls tackling the rocks. 

We sat, visited, and enjoyed the view and the flowers.  Brittlebush and chuparosa intertwined all around us.

A beautiful morning.

That was the last hike for my Keen hiking boots though they were almost new. They lack the flexibility I desire for walking on rocks and on descents they were killing my toes.   They went on the Goodwill run we made yesterday (yes we are still getting rid of stuff).  This week I have been doing fine in my Nike walking shoes though I may try out some Merrill boots as Tom seems happy with his.  I love my Keen sandals, but their hiking boots are not a recommended buy as far as I am concerned.