Due to ongoing left knee issues (expect to get MRI results Tuesday am) I hadn't hardly been doing any walking lately, let alone hiking. But being cooped up without hiking was getting to me so when my gf and a friend of hers were going to hike Flatiron I said I'd tag along for a little while, find a nice spot to "camp out" and read a book while waiting for them to complete the hike, so at least I'd get a chance to enjoy the great weather.
So much for plans... I can't say whether I experienced no pain on the way up or if my mind was so focused on a great hike that it forgot
the pain, all I know is once we got going I never gave a second thought to stopping to while away the day reading. I guess it probably helped that it was my gf's second Flatiron hike and the first time for her much-younger friend (20's, unlike us in our 50-60's) so the pace was nothing near what I was used to prior to the knee issues.
We started from the McKellips TH around 8:30 am, just early enough we wouldn't be wading through the Sunday masses (no pun intended) on the way up at least. Other than passing one group of men in their 50's 2/3 of the way up the climb was uneventful. Once at the top, as we walked toward the front of flatiron we found a group of younger folks who appeared to have been up for a while along with a number of others milling around, for maybe a total of 15-20 people.
We took a short break then while the girls looked for a suitable tree (not much of that here) I walked up the rocks immediately east to get a photo over the front of Flatiron. After taking the photo as I was climbing back down I came across 5-6 huge black garbage bags about as full as could be hidden like a cache in the rocks. Upon closer inspection they appeared to be full of empty 2 liter bottles. Why they were there and who put them there is a mystery, but suffice to say, these were not ecology-minded folks.
It seems to me they may have been accumulated over some time, or else it much have been some huge group to have brought this much up. carrying it must have been some haul to get the bottles up here when they were full. After a few photos of the trash bags I continued down only to run across two separate geocaches. Some geocaches...
One was barely large enough for a pocket notebook and neither was waterproof by any means. The large one was a rusty old gallon size tin can so it had room for more items. The Book of Mormon left by missionaries (their note said they found the cache by mistake) was pretty damp so who knows how long it will last. No matter, we all signed both caches, TNLN (Took Nothing Left Nothing as they say in cache lingo
The trip down was a bit more eventful, mainly due to the later starters now nearing their destination. The first big rock to descend was already stopped up by a group who seemed to have little clue how to get down, while a number of impatient climbers grumbled about having to wait their turn. Awwww, poor babies. If they think they own the trail maybe they should have got out of bed earlier and staked out their claim.
Once the cluster cleared it was just a matter of continuing down slow enough so we didn't run into the group descending ahead of us. Eventually my knee began to remind me it wasn't exactly happy, so we slowed even further, although it turns out much of my time was spent watching the controlled slides/falls of the gals with me. I kicked myself later for not having my camera ready to video their travails. Other than passing the group ahead of us when they stopped for a breather and passing some barking beagles the rest of the descent was just a walk-in-the-park on a beautiful day. For me it was very invigorating after being off the trails for a while.
Now the next morning, I'm pleasantly surprised by very little knee pain but I'm still pretty sure something far from right with it. Unfortunately having to rely on the VA, it only took a month and a half to get the MRI.
Hopefully the MRI results Tuesday will provide a solid diagnosis so I don't lose 6 months over this problem, whether arthroscopic surgery or a very specific course to physical therapy. So depending on the diagnosis, this may have been my last hike for some time. Hope not!