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Iron Mountain - Tonto NF
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mini location map2013-03-14
59 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Iron Mountain - Tonto NFGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2013
Hiking2.80 Miles 1,349 AEG
Hiking2.80 Miles   5 Hrs   15 Mns   0.88 mph
1,349 ft AEG   2 Hrs   5 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The dirt road(s) to Rogers Trough trailhead are long and slow going. It's a long way to drive for a hike, but Iron Mountain has four survey disks on its summit, to lure me down that dusty road.

Iron Mountain is directly north of the trailhead, and I used W Pinto Trail to get closer to it before going off-trail. W Pinto Trail starts about 200 feet from the Rogers Trough car park, and is in good shape, at least for the short period I was on it. You're initially near springs and a wash, so you have alot of vegetation along the sides of the trail.

When surveyors went up atop Iron Mountain in the 1930s and 1940s, it was already being used as a forest fire lookout point. Back then, the "trail" they used, to the top of the mountain, was probably pretty good. Well not anymore.
As Joe mentioned in his 2005 triplog and 2007 description, the trail up to Iron Mountain is long gone. There are tiny glimpses of it left, and one of those "glimpses" actually led me astray.

Knowing the original trail was all but gone, at .9 mi on the W Pinto Trail, I noted a fairly "clear of brush" (initially anyway) route to start my off-trail adventure up Iron Mountain.
This route was very steep, and consisted of loose dirt and gravel. For every boot step up, I slid backwards about a foot until the soil compacted enough to carry my weight. This balancing act got old and tiring fast.

When this "backward dance-step" climb ceased, I commenced my next adventure going up Iron Mountain. While still going up at the same steep angle, I found myself surrounded, (in all directions except down), in thick brush over 6 ft high. Very soon I was ensconced in the thickest, and tallest, dense brush I have ever hiked in. I relied on my GPS to give me a direction to chop through this almost impenetrable wall of brush. After possibly 300 feet of this (I think), I broke out onto what appeared to be a narrow, faint trail.

This faint trail was traversing the mountain, and was gaining a little elevation, so I followed it. It even made a definite switch-back and then abruptly ended. Now I was right back in the thick brush again.

Suffice it to say, I finally made it to the top. The climb portion through that thick brush was only 3 tenths of a mile, but it took me over an hour !!! All that aggravation, ripped pants, shirt and hat, plus scratched limbs . ..... all that - just to find a few little disks stuck in the ground ??? YIKES. I need a new hobby. :)

I found IRON MOUNTAIN Triangulation Station, and its two Reference Marks easily and in great condition. All three disks were set in place in 1946 on the highest point of the mountain.

17 and 1/2 feet away from IRON MT Triangulation Station, I also found another survey disk. It's a Forest Service disk. It's full name is, "IRON MOUNTAIN FOREST SERVICE 1938 VISIBLE AREA MAP POINT" (that's a long name for a little disk). The U S Forest Service monumented this disk in 1938, and the disk states its for "Fire Control" and actually has a date on it - "12 1 1938".
The surveyor's datasheets have a "TO REACH" section that states, "Follow the U.S. Forest Service trail USGS to the summit, on a good trail"
"On a good trail " ???? -- Yeah ! Right !! Maybe in 1938.

This Forest Service disk is physically a bit smaller than a normal survey disk. The disk itself, is in great shape, but it is not cemented into its rock outcrop any more. It's still (loosely placed) in its bore hole, surrounded by broken pieces of the cement that once held it solidly in place. Possibly the rock outcrop fractured. So far, no one has been a vandal or a thief.
I took photos of it while it was in my hand, displaying its stem that's usually cemented in the bore hole, and "out-of-sight".
After the in-hand photo op, I placed it back in its hole and put all the loose cement pieces back in place. Hopefully, no one messes with it.

I also stumbled upon an extremely well hidden summit log. It was hidden better than most geocaches. Iron Mountain has had quite a few visitors, but most of them were in the 1980s and early 1990s. Maybe a faint trail actually existed then.

I also found another survey disk - A U.S. Geological Survey Bench Mark cemented into a cattle trough near the trailhead. It was monumented in 1946 and has to do with elevation - 4883 Feet.

From atop Iron Mountain, I had interesting views of some well known mountains etc. The entire Superstition ridgeline was in view, but backwards, relative to my normal view from the Phoenix valley.

Just before hiking off the mountain, I took a long and hard look for a better way down. I modified my route down a little bit and it was better, but not much. I just plowed my way through the brush to daylight and to the W Pinto Trail below.

I found a total of 5 disks, which kind of made up for the terrible hiking conditions.
What a crazy hike ! :| :|
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
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