Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte Lake

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flat Iron Mountain Challenge Hike....I made it to the top of the world

As I mentioned in my last post, I planned to attempt the challenge hike up Flat Iron Mountain. Flat Iron is the upper most part of the mountain we can see out the back window of the RV each morning.

 
The hike began at a trailhead in Apache Junction, just next to the Lost Ming Camp Restaurant, that leads to Siphon Draw then continues beyond to the top of Flat Iron. Wikipedia states that a draw is a terrain feature formed by two parallel ridges or spurs with low ground in between them. The area of low ground itself is the draw. At the top of the draw is a sheet of rock, called the Bowling Alley where water run off from the top of the mountain filters down the draw. To get to Siphon Draw there is a steady uphill climb from the trailhead.

After Wednesdays hike of Apache Overlook with some mild elevation gain of 800 feet, I wasn't sure I could get to the top of Flat Iron Mountain, this past Friday, with an elevation gain of 2800 feet and sitting at 4800 feet above sea level. I didn't get much sleep the night the night before thinking about this challenge but decided I would at least attempt it. The lower portion of the hike takes us up through Siphon Draw. Wikipedia defines a DRAW as a terrain feature formed by two parallel
 
Enlarge the photos for better viewing


The trail leading up to the draw

Flat Iron in the upper middle
Closer view of Flat Iron... yes I'm going up there

Siphon Draw

The Bowling Alley

OK, I made it this far. At this point I wasn't sure I wanted to continue as I looked up to where we had to go to make it to the top of Flat Iron. Fortunately, another hiker, Brian, indicated that he wasn't sure he wanted to continue but said if I was willing so was he. So we made a pact that we would continue together at a slightly slower pace than the rest of the group and on we went. We all stashed our hiking poles behind some bushes after we got past the bowling alley portion of Siphon Draw and continued our climb. It got very rocky and we had to climb over some pretty tough terrain.

Large boulders

Some areas were almost straight up
 
So far we had climbed for about an hour or so and we still had along way to go. Up and up we went and I continued to wonder if I would be able to make it, but Brian and I made our way slowly. As we got to one section of difficult climbing I asked how much further it was to the top and one of the hikers said, "Oh, we're almost there, we only have about another 1/2 hour of climbing"....What? I said. Then he said, "We've climbing for about 2 1/2 hours so we're almost there". OK, I can't give up now.
Looking back down near the top

Finally at the saddle leading to Flat Iron
 
 
Sure enough after about another 30 minutes we reached the saddle that lead to Flat Iron. We followed a trail across the saddle and out we came, actually not very far behind the rest of the group. There was a slight incline to the edge of Flat Iron and then the view. What we came here for. It was like being on top of the world. It was the top of the world to me. I MADE IT after 3 1/2 hours of climbing a steep, steep canyon I was on top of Flat Iron and it was worth every bit of sweat, blood, aching legs and burning lungs.
 
This photo does not do the view justice

Layers of mountains

The valley below

I was in the clouds

On the edge
 
That V shaped area in the middle is our RV park
 
The feeling I had is indescribable. I was so tired but so jazzed up too. We sat on the rocks taking in the views and nourishing ourselves with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, apples, trail mix, water, Cliff Bars, water, more water. We took photos of each other, we congratulated each other and we smiled. After some time of relaxing, nourishing and re-hydrating, someone said well now we have to finish by climbing up to the Hoodoos. What? I thought this was the top. No, I found out, the really top is another 350 feet up to the Hoodoos.
 
Yup, those Hoodoos, up there.
 
So we strapped on our gear and up the hoodoos we climbed. 350 more feet. For a different perspective of Flat Iron.
 
View from the hoodoos

Yes, that's Flat Iron below

A close up view...see the people?
 
When we got to the top of the hoodoos we could see the other side of the mountain. Across from us were 5057(Superstition Mountain) and Weavers Needle. I was as high as 5057 and I was now looking DOWN on Weavers Needle instead of looking across at it like the Fremont Saddle hike.
 
5057 in the distant middle

Weavers Needle
 
It was very cool to see these other sights from a different perspective. After a short while we knew we better be on our way back down. Going down such a steep incline takes some time and care in negotiating. We helped each other as we traversed the boulders and loose rocks. It was slow going at the top but we made our way. We did hear from another hiker that a woman had fallen about 15 feet at the top and hit her head. They had been able to get cell service and had called rescue. Not much we could do from our vantage point on our way down. The quadriceps were aching from the jarring from each step down. Jello would describe my legs. However the views below were spectacular as we descended.
 





 
I continued to look back in amazement at what we had all accomplished and that we all had made it back down without injury after hearing of the woman's fall above us. I realize that some may be tiring of my hiking posts but to me they are accomplishments that I need to record for the future. I hope that you get some enjoyment from my experiences. We've only begun our adventure so I plan

to record many different experiences as we move around the country not just hiking. There is no doubt that we made the right decision to go fulltime RVing at this time. Enjoying every minute of it. Only 3 more weeks and we are on the move.
 
P.S.... we got an email from our RV friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road and they informed us that they got a reservation at Pancho Villa SP in New Mexico the same time we will be there. Very excited to be able to see them again, compare notes of our adventures so far, catch up and relax. Until next time.

 
 
 


2 comments:

  1. Congratulations, what a great accomplishment.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Faye N Dave...It was tough but worth the effort.

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