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81 triplogs
Dec 26 2005
OhOh7
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Treasure Loop to Praying HandsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 26 2005
OhOh7
Hiking4.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   6 Hrs      0.67 mph
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Although there are many writeups for Treasure Loop at the Lost Dutchman State Park, I followed a suggestion and would call this Treasure Loop Plus! We met at Jacob's Crosscut trailhead on First Water Road (to save money of course) and the lot there looked like Bank One Ballpark (I know, I know-now called Chase). Horse trailers and many cars. Lots of people out the day after Christmas. After a mile on Jacob's Crosscut that is very easy you meet the junction with Treasure Loop that goes Southeast as Jacob's crosscut continues South. The Treasure Loop trail goes southeast and loops around Green Boulder ( it is not green but someone named it that) and then returns down to Jacob's Crosscut. At the farthest point SE on the Treasure Loop trail is where we departed on an unmarked trail that goes Northeast through the hoodoos and over a saddle at the Praying hands.

I have been on the treasure Loop trail quite a few times and never even gave a second glance to that NE trail. What a great experience! You climb quite steeply for about a quarter of a mile and then reach the saddle between two giant rock spires. The view toward the North and East is spectacular with the Massacre Grounds route before you and a glimpse of the Massacre Grounds cliff. If you don't know the story you can look it up but basically a number of Mexican nationals were bringing gold back from Colorado. They thought it best to avoid the Phoenix area valley and felt they could get through the Superstitions. Indians in the area found out the route and waited silently until the Mexicans and their wagons were just about at the site-then attacked and killed all of them for their horses and wagons and supplies. However, they did not take the gold as it was worthless to them. Years after that people found some of that gold in bags and loose and of course said they found gold in the Superstitions-even to say they had found Jacob Waltz's gold.

Back to the hike. It is about a quarter mile to the first saddle between the two spires. The views from there are great. Actually the farther one goes the more clear the trail is. Even though not named there is actually a trail. It continues on for about another quarter mile and turns abruptly toward the cliffs where it ends. One could get to the Massacre Grounds this way but it would involve much bushwhacking. We turned back to see cliffs and spires that you simply do not see when you just take the Treasure Loop.

Going back to join the Treasure Loop trail you can follow a trail higher up on the foothills, then drop down to the Treasure Loop near the bench. From there we wanted to find a trail that would lead us over to Palmer Mine and then on to Siphon Draw. We could not find the North end of that trail and finally we went off trail to go toward the mine area. Sure enough soon we did find a trail that led to the mine. However, we turned toward the Siphon Draw trail and somehow missed the mine. We will go back from the Siphon Draw next time where the trail is well defined.

The next goal was to come down the Siphon Draw trail to Jacob's Crosscut and then back North to the car. Of course we were talking and laughing until finally we saw we were getting close to the Park Boundary Fence. We quickly turned East to find the Jacob's Crosscut trail which we finally did, then proceeded back to the parking lot and the cars.

If you have done most of the Dutchman trails I highly recommend you do this variation of going the spur trail above Treasure Loop and then hugging the cliffs over to Palmer Mine. The total distance was just over 6 miles and we did it in 4 hours. On Jacob's Crosscut one can make up time as it is quite easy walking with good surface and a few ups and downs. When we returned to the lot there were actually more cars there then when we left and cars parked all along First water Road. We did meet many hikers and families on various parts of the trails mentioned.. Somehow I contacted the flu even though I had a shot. Hospitals say they are flooded with flu cases so I will just stay in bed!
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Dec 20 2005
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Alta TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 20 2005
OhOh7
Hiking4.50 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles
1,100 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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The Alta trail at South Mountain is quite steep at both ends and winds around the North side of the small range that sits North of the main National trail range. Monday we ventured down the San Juan trailhead road with the intent of doing the Alta trail from west to east. At the junction with the summit road and San Juan Road we found a closed fence across the road. Since the padlock was not locked we opened the fence and drove through toward the trailhead. About a mile from the trailhead we were stopped by a Phoenix policeman! He said, "Didn't you see the fence?". We said, "Yes and we opened it because the sign said open from dawn to dusk.". We then had a short discussion as to why we should not have opened the gate and why we did it. The result was that we had to turn back and re-close the gate. Ford was filming commercials for the 2007 Ford SUV. The road was blocked off for that reason and we had ventured where we should not have been.

SO, we went to plan "B". We parked at the junction of the summit road and San Juan Road and cross countried for one half mile to the Alta trail east end. From there is was a series of switchbacks up to the top of the range, then along the North side of the range near the ridgeline until we past Maricopa Peak and started down to the San Juan trailhead. Great views and grand vistas are on this well maintained trail. The terrible brown smog layer shown very pronounced over the city of Phoenix. Looks more like LA every year!!!

Please be aware that the literature and hike routes all seem to list the Alta trail as 4.5 miles. This would only be true if you treated it as a shuttle hike. Our route was from the junction NW and west over the ridge, down to the San Juan trailhead, National trail to the road, cross the road and the Bajada trail back to the east Alta trailhead. Counting the added distance to our car the total distance was 9.4 miles to make the loop. The Alta trail is certainly more spectacular than the National trail sections and the North side of the ridge has many quite steep dropoffs. I tried to take some photos that would show this.

Although the Alta trail has two steep ends we were prepared for it. The National trail over to the Bajada is easy and quite flat. However the Bajada trail of almost 2 miles is not what I consider easy. Lots of ups and downs and crossing arroyos. Actually lots of climbing into the foothills overlooking the San Juan Road. You look down on the road until you drop down to the trailhead. That trail route could have been quite tame but I guess they wanted to make it more wandering and higher.

If you want to see how the Phoenix growth is spreading west, be sure to do this Alta trail. These days you can not see the plumes from Palo Verde at all due to the brown smog layer. Oh, finally, neither of us was impressed with the 2007 model we saw. Looked more like a Honda rip-off.
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Dec 12 2005
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Rogers Canyon RuinsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 12 2005
OhOh7
Hiking8.20 Miles 1,118 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.26 mph
1,118 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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HAZ has been very successful in fostering guilt on us by listing the number of days since our last hike. Well, it worked. I followed the advice of my MD and my "mule hernia" and faithfully waited the 30 days before I struck out again on a trail. I tested it on some local trails around my home and things seemed OK. SO, Monday the 12th I went with my usual companions out to the Roger's Trough trailhead. I am glad Andy had his large rig as that road of 12 miles after crossing the Whitlow dam area is very rough and quite a shaker. Yes, you could make it with a car but there are 10 or 12 places where you would have to be very careful about high centering. 4WD is not necessary but clearance is which is true for most of the Superstition area roads. I would not do this in my SUV.

Anyway, it took us 1.5 hours to get to the trailhead from my house. We started hiking at 9 AM with the Rogers Ruins our goal. I also wanted to scope out the possible camp sites available for a later time. There are a number of great camp sites and we did not even go on to Angel basin where there is lots of open space. The trail is 8.2 miles RT and is listed as moderate in the books. For me I would have to rate it between moderate and strenuous. The elevation change is just over 1000 feet. Going to the ruins is mostly downhill but returning has several quite steep spots.No rock climbing required but there are a couple of switchbacks that are fairly long and steep. A lot of the trail follows the creek bed and therefore is fairly level. This is why the periodic climbs are steep. Since I was not in"shape" due to my month rest I found the route quite challenging.

It took us 2.5 hours to reach the ruins and 3 hours to return with about an hour for exploring the ruins. Total time was 6.5 hours. It is startling and amazing that you would never think you were in the Arizona desert on this hike. As many photos show the foliage is very thick and looks extremely healthy—even though there has not been rain for quite awhile. The growth is really lush with lots of manzanita, alder, ash and many pine trees. Dan even found lots of mistletoe and kept putting it over his head but no one would kiss him.

The trail goes down quite rapidly to the junction with Reavis Ranch 109 and then 110 goes off left down farther to the creek and on to the ruins. The rock formations are spectacular and the ruins are amazing. Once you reach the ruins there is about a 100 foot climb up to the first cave. I do have a slight issue with the sign information. It says the Salado Indians occupied the site about 600 years ago. Actually the Salado were a part of the Anazasi and came to this area about 1100 AD. They left mysteriously about 1350 AD so it is a bit misleading to say they occupied the site 600 years ago. That would make it 1400 and they were gone by then. No big thing but worth mentioning. OK you people out there-don't correct me. This is the way I see it.

I would suggest that, if you go see these marvelous ruins that you try to plan to camp in the area. That way you have lots of time to go through them and to inspect he surroundings. We noted that there are numerous caves near the actual ruins that could easily house more ruins. They are higher up and harder to reach. Doing the 4 miles down and an overnight also makes it much easier to return the next day for the climb out.

It really was a great hike. We all stayed together and periodically I had to stop for air and the other stopped with me. We set no speed records when we hike and we really do enjoy the trails and dense growth. The trail is quite well marked but it does cross the creek bed many times and as you get closer to the ruins there are some rocky areas to cross. It is easy ankle sprain terrain so caution should be taken. There was no one at the trailhead and no one coming in or out. The trailhead certainly is big and has room for many vehicles. We enjoyed the solitude and the many stops to look at rock cliffs and beautiful scenery. Although the route in is long and rough, this is a strongly recommended hike. The RT is a but much for me in one shot but can be done. The overnight would be an excellent outing.

My photos are from the trailhead to the ruins and back. If you want to see what the road in looks like I would recommend going to the category Reavis Ranch from 109 South and clicking on the photo set from Jim the Hiker dated 11/1/04. I really wonder if it is 12 miles. Seems like much farther. The last 3 miles up to Rogers trough is winding and steep.
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Oct 25 2005
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
National Trail - Telegraph to PimaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 25 2005
OhOh7
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs      1.80 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Tuesday the 25th I was able to rejuvenate myself and once again stir the fires of hiking after the Reavis Ranch disaster of the 15th and 16th. With my most considerate companions, Dan and Andy, we did the eastern half of the National trail starting up Telegraph Pass. I n actuality the Reavis mess was a learning experience for me. It was a disaster for me because I did not have accurate trail information (my fault as I trusted others to describe the trail), poor guidance as to where Reavis Ranch was and some erroneous reporting of the results and procedures. Thanks to Tom my time at the camp site was very nice. Certain others also helped. Never having been on a horse or mule before the pack saddle almost rendered me a soprano in the 10 miles. I know I could have walked out but the ride out was certainly an experience. I learned a great deal. For about 4 to 5 days after that mess I decided never to hike again. Most of you have no idea what 70 plus feels like!!! Your body hurts even if you stay still and do nothing.

Dan and Andy completely changed my mind with a delightful 9 mile hike up Telegraph Pass and east on National trail to the eastern Pima Canyon trailhead. The first 1.3 miles is a scramble up hill from about 1400 feet elevation to about 2000 feet. It is a bit over 500 feet and fairly steep in spots. From there we went east and the trail rises and dips gaining another 400 feet but in bits and pieces. You pass under the TV towers and see them from different angles. At times you feel isolated and in the wilderness but you round a corner or climb a short grade and suddenly all of Phoenix spreads out before you. Several trails come into National but it is well marked all the way to the eastern trailhead.

Of course when we got to the junction with Hidden Valley we took the steep trail down to the right and then played around in the rock formations, the various tunnels and checked out both ends of Fat Man's Pass. I almost tried it but would have to take off my pack to slide through. Anyway we enjoyed playing around in Hidden Valley and reached the junction again with National Trail.

From there on it is up and down with gentle slopes until you reach near the trailhead and then there are switchbacks to get you to the road level. From there you pass the runners and bikers until you reach the car lot. From there we drove over to where had left my car at Telegraph Pass and went to lunch at a great recommended Mexican restaurant just off Baseline. Our total hike time was 5 hours or a 1.8 mph average that shows most of the trail is relatively fast for me.

I have learned so much this fall about hikes. Being very new I did not realize that all hike ratings are relative to the experience of the rating hiker. To me Flatiron is almost impossible, anything over 9 or 10 miles -even flat is very, very hard. Treasure Loop is difficult with the climbs. To my mailbox is the only rated easy hike for me! I do thank some of you for sharing ways I can rate my hikes. I now have TOPO distances and elevations. As an example I could do the 1.3 miles up Telegraph Pass by stopping several times for a minute or so. If it had been twice that distance I would have had trouble. For most of you when I see a hike rated easy to moderate I will carefully track it and it will be high moderate to difficult for me.

At least I now have one half of the National Trail completed. Oh also will get back to Reavis Ranch but completely on my terms Thank God for Dan and Andy.
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Oct 16 2005
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
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 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Reavis Ranch via 109 NorthGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 16 2005
OhOh7
Hiking18.60 Miles 2,040 AEG
Hiking18.60 Miles2 Days   14 Hrs      
2,040 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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OK, I am going to tell it like it is. No more of these flowery writeups about the ease of trails from those who run up and down the Matterhorn before breakfast. Without extensive study I was led to believe that the North route into Reavis Ranch was a piece of cake. It is listed as moderate in the book but that is not my definition of moderate! I was also told that there were two areas of elevation gain---yes, I agree, the first 70% and most of the last 30%.

The elevation at the trailhead read 3000 feet on my GPS and at Windy Pass is read 5110 feet. My trig tangent tables tell me that is just about a 4% sustained climb for 6.25 miles. Once you reach Windy Pass you think it might be downhill to the ranch. Think again. some is and there are several climbs. The "meadow" part of this hike is the last mile. The rest is quite rocky in many spots.

Anyway, Trish, Michelle and I motored to the trailhead arriving Saturday morning at about 7:40. I had mis-understood Randy that we would start at 8 AM. Randy arrived at almost 9 AM so we loaded up and started--up--the trail. It became very clear within the first half mile that any thought of a level trail would be a moot point. Randy hung back many times as he was carrying a pack that looked as big as a semi. We waited periodically for him and then both Trish and Michelle went on ahead until they rached a mesquite tree just past the off trail to the falls.

When I arrived there I was feeling it in my legs and it was obvious that there was lots of climbing left. Remember, I am Slowclimber. I can get there but it takes time and I have to keep going. If I stop to rest I will fall asleep and miss the rest of the day! I knew Randy was just a little way behind as he was stopping quite often. The ladies present said they would stay there until he arrived and I had to push on ahead to go around Castle Dome and to Windy Pass.

This was my first ever backpack (weighed 28 pounds) and my first ever overnight. I became worried about the continued climb. Oh sure, 4% is virtually nothing--but for 6.25 miles it does tax one. After I passed castle Dome I mistakenly thought I would be at the top shortly. Au Contraire! Around each bend was another trail slant up to the next bend. After 4 of these I finally reached Windy Pass. The name is very appropriate! It was blowing 20 to 25 mph gusts. I took off my pack and sat down under the big tree there. I said I would rest and wait for the rest since I was through climbing (I thought). I ate and watched the clouds and about 40 minutes later around the bend came Trish, behind her a few yards was Michelle. They said they had met with Randy and he said he would slowly proceed. I became a bit worried about Randy and decided to wait for him at Windy Pass. Trish and Michelle went on ahead. My major worry was darkness. I did not know the trail or where I was going. I waited another hour and felt I had to go on. I had never been out in the dark before and knew I had better go the last 3 miles to Reavis Ranch. I also knew that Randy had been on all these trails many times and my only worry was the pack size he had and his recent stress tests.

So I reluctantly started off after Trish and Michelle. I did not realize that the trail down was so rocky and lots of ups and downs. I had to stop to rest a number of times. I finally made it to the valley floor and saw meadows at dusk. My back pack had shifted and I did not know how to get it balanced. So I began to stagger along until I really had no idea where I was, where Reavis ranch was or where campers were. It began to get dark. So I did the obvious thing. Took off my pack and took out my whistle. I blew SOS a number of times since I had heard some voices nearby (happened to be at the horse camp) and I really was not that scared. I knew I was in the Reavis Valley and there were campers about. I was very tired and the climb had taken its toll. Within about 10 minutes 3 people showed up from the wrangler camp. Kevin and his son took my pack and steadied me and said it was about a quarter mile to Reavis. I had stopped short. I quickly determined that these people had gone to the same school of distance determination as JW as the quarter mile turned into almost a mile. It was dark and these guys really knew the area well. On the trail we heard something drop and I realized it was my GPS unit (not a cheap one) and we looked for it with head lamps, found nothing. I chalked it off to a loss and we continued.

In about 10 minutes we saw headlamps and someone said "Roger" and my guides said yes. It was Tom who had set out to find me. from there on Tom carried my pack to camp set up my tent, bag and pad and everyone there was extremely helpful!!! I can't stress enought how kind people were. The wranglers and Tom plus others I do not know their names. I thank you for your help. I really did have fun.

Surprisingly I was very warm all night and comfortable. I was concered about my GPS but s--- happens so we accept that. in the morning I felt quite a bit better. Some woman named Lil had given me a neck massage and she was excellent!! I told myself "suck it up" and hike out. On the trail back North we found where the wranglers had marked the trail where my GPS had fallen. About 30 feet from there, there it was at the side of the trail!!! Hoo-ray. We reached the wrangler camp and it was felt that maybe I could get a ride out the the wranglers--if they were going out.

They were so very cordial and said certainly. I waited there with coffee, water and snacks until they had loaded up the pack train and assigned me a big black mule. I told them I had never ridden a horse or a mule and did not even know the difference. They all laughed and fixed up the pack saddle. At noon they hoisted me up on the mule and off we went at 4 mph. My upper thighs and rear begain to hurt. The mule brushed by a tree branch and I hit my hand. The blood started to flow and I used my hankerchief to try to stop the flow while we bounced along down the trail.

In less than an hour we arrived at Windy Pass--sure was not much of a climb on the mule!! At Windy Pass were Trish, Michelle and Randy. Randy had plugged on and camped by himself, had a stare down with a mountain lion but seemed to be in good shape. Our pack train stopped several times for short rests ( primarily for me because my butt was really hurting but better than walking at this time for me). They gave me sandwiches and water and lifted me off the mule and back on and once parked me by a rock where one of there two thousand dogs came to comfort me. Well there were only about 6 dogs but they loved the trail and ran in and out of the horses yapping and having fun. We arrived at the trailhead at 4 PM and they went on to the Apache Lake Ranch to unload. I waited until about 5 and here came Trish over the last hill. She stayed at the trailhead while I drove to Apache Lake Ranch to sort out my gear from the pack. I drove back and Michelle and Randy were there.

My major concern was driving Fish Creek hill in the dark but we made it! What a fun experience! All were safe and none of us was in real danger. This was a very strenuous hike for me. It is 10 miles the one way. I could have made it back out walking but it would have been quite dark. Also I am glad to have the mule experience. I was told by the wranglers that much of the very rocky trail surfaces is done by the horses and mules that kick up rocks.

Oh, during the night we did hear some cats scream. The equipment I had was perfect and I do thank those who helped me determine what to buy. Will I go overnight again??? Of Course I will! However I will carefully study the trail ahead of time. I know some of you think that trail is level----well it ain't!!!!!!
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Mar 12 2005
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
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 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 12 2005
OhOh7
Hiking 2,780 AEG
Hiking   9 Hrs      0.00 mph
2,780 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I have delayed in writing this up but for two specific reasons I want to do so. The first is that, after two tough tries, I was "escorted" to the Flatiron AND on up to the very top of the western Superstition ridge. It is at 5024 feet and is about a quarter of a mile beyond the Flatiron "junction". The Flatiron is listed at 4861 feet so. not only is the actual top a quarter of a mile away but also 163 feet higher and over half of that distance is no trail but climbing through hoodoos. So this is really Flatiron plus 5024.

The second reason is that I have been very happy to see a few writeups on the Flatiron that state how very difficult it is. I know there are lots of hikers who literally run up and down the Siphon Draw to the Flatiron and back but then there are the rest of us.

I do not want to discourage anyone from doing the Flatiron. It is one of my accomplishments where I surprised myself. If you take it slow and have plenty of time and make sure the weather is reasonably cool, you will have the time of your life. The first couple miles to the "draw" is a significant haul up hill and, to the top of the draw, takes me a bit over 2 hours. I have to rest then for awhile.

Once at the top of the actual Siphon Draw you look at the final ascent up the drainage to the Flatiron level and, to guys like me, it looks impossible! It is only a bit less than a mile but there is trail for only about 100 yards and then it is boulder climbing hand over foot to the final 10 foot "cliff". The good thing is that, if you take it slow (pay no mind to those wild ones running past you up and down), this can be done one step at a time up the drainage. Even the final 10 feet (actually 8.5 feet) has a few footholds where you can pull your self up.

OK, now that we know it is possible, it must be said that this is a very difficult, challenging hike--more mountain climbing than hiking. However, once you reach the Flatiron and walk out the short trail to the flat area, the views are breathtaking and from then on whenever you drive out the Apache trail or are in view of the Superstitions you will just shake your head in amazement that you were up there. As Joe says, look back on your way down and be astounded at your accomplishment.

The Lost Dutchman Park has changed the trailhead location for the Siphon Draw that adds a half mile. Then add a quarter mile from the Flatiron level on up to the top and the total overall distance round trip is just about 7 miles. When we got to the Flatiron level( just after that final 8.5 feet of scramble) we turned left and proceeded up a faint trail (actually part of the ridgeline route) and then cut off left through the hoodoos to the very top. This last part is also very difficult. However, once on the very top you look 360 degrees--DOWN on Weaver's Needle and everything else!!!

I tried to take enough photos to show lots of the route and some of the hoodoo hopping to the very top. After we claimed the land for our own, we went back down, out to the Flatiron, sat a ate lunch and rested before the climb down. The only advice I would have for the trip back is to be slow and careful. Make sure you have good boots for traction and watch carefully. By the way, I use hiking poles BUT, collapse them and put them in your pack for the final climb up the drainage.

So, the Flatiron is, maybe the outstanding hike in the Phoenix area, harder than Camelback or Piestewa and much more difficult than most every other trail in the Superstitions. It can be done but don't be fooled by seasoned hikers ot the hotshots who seem to do this in their sleep. I simply wanted to agree with several who have said this is a very hard, strenuous hike. It is worth every minute. Maybe try it a couple times to the actual Siphon Draw, then set your day and go the full route. Many just go to the Flatiron but, once you are up there, try to go the extra way to the top. You won't believe where you are!
Named place
Named place
The Flatiron
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Dec 28 2004
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
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 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Bob Bear Trail #18 - Fossil CreekCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2004
OhOh7
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,391 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs      1.80 mph
1,391 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Several of us will share the fun of this hike with photos and writeups. Early December 28 eight stalwarts left from different origins to converge at the trailhead for Fossil Springs, East of the town of Strawberry 5 miles off highway 87. The sky would alternate between puffy clouds and suspect overcast. We were hoping that the coming rain would stay away for the day. Mostly it did!

It was about 41 degrees when we assembled as the photos will show. The trail down is wide (an old and still available jeep road) and basically circles around the sides of a couple mountains as it drops almost 2000 feet to Fossil Creek. (writers's note: I was rapidly descending this trail while looking ahead to the return climb with some concern. However, I did know an escape route existed--more on this later.)

The group strung out going down the trail that hugged the mountainside then dropped down to the creek. Our protective mascot Harley rather wanted us to stay somewhat together and, in order to promote this, he would rush to the front of the group and then toward the back stopping at each one or two. Therefore, while we walked the approximate 4 miles to the beautiful stream, Harley logged at least 10 times that distance with his group harmony promotion task.

This hike proves that Arizona is anything but desert. If you have friends or relatives who scoff because you live in a desert, send them some of the photos we took. Sparkling mountain stream with many small waterfalls and rushing rapids. It is absolutely beautiful and well worth the trip. Once at stream side we explored both sides going back and forth over the rocks provided by the stream gods. We then saw one of the water sources. Suz yelled with delight as she put her hand into the water bubbling from the ground and declared is was WARM. A discussion then ensued as to the actual temperature. Some said 72 and some said 80 and Hank finally ended this with an aithoritative 71.56 degrees. We all agreed and continued down stream.

At this point Slowclimber was somehow in the lead and became an authority on trail direction. Of course I was wrong and I led GPS Joe and Sun Hiker down to the stream north edge and into some major rock juttings that proved to be the wrong way way to the dam. We did however see a Rhino and the rest who followed the trail did not. (No, I just threw the Rhino in there to try to prove we knew what we were doing). Once we joined the others some Indian ruins were noted high on the cliff face above. Some climbed up to check them out while the rest of us continued to the dam.

Once we arrived there we we poked around an old stone house (with a light switch????) and found the flume that carried water downstream at quite a rate. We lunched there and were met by an APS worked who was checking the guages etc. at the dam. The hour or so we spent at the dam and along the creek sides was extremely quiet with nature's beauty. We imagine that, in the fall, these colors would be astounding. One of the reasons we had wanted to do this hike is that there ae plans to lower the dam by about 14 feet to increase the waterflow and change the pool levels etc. The APS man told us that this plan would not be done until 2008 or 2009 and it probably would not change the basic scenery much.

At this time I mentioned the "escape route" referred to above. Bev joined me and we continued downstream for almost 5 miles to a power plant. The othere agreed to do the return uphill and then one would drive a 5 mile cliff edge road down to pick us up. from here on I only know what Bev and I saw as we followed the flume down stream. An easy jeep road it has several uphill and downhill sections. We thought we would beat the others because they had almost 4 miles of uphill return. We were very wrong. We had underestimated the hardline hikers who had averaged 3 mph going uphill, reached the car and drove to get us--beating us to the lot by several munites.

Bev and I were very grateful for Sun Hiker's drive to pick us up at that end of the trail. The 5 miles from the regular trailhead (upper) to the lower is a very precarious, virtually one lane road with sheer drop offs at every turn. I though Fish Creek Hill was a major thrill road until I rode up this one!!!

We returned to the trailhead and proceeded to the Strawberry Inn where we visited, ate and joked. At that time it was pouring rain. We had beaten the storm. Both returning routes had experienced a few drops of rain and a light sprinkle but we made it to the trailhead before the sky burst.

This was a great hike and fun with the 8 of us---even dividing the return route. There was some sort of dog skirmish on the return of the others (not involving Harley) but someone wil have to report on that as Bev and I were wending our way under and along side the flume. Both our parties logged about 9 mile RT.

We started out after dinner in the rain and all made it safely home. By the way, Harley slept the whole way home. Harley the distance dog had done it again!!!
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Nov 11 2004
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85 male
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Superstition Peak 5057 - CarneyPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 11 2004
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Hiking6.60 Miles 3,408 AEG
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I asked an experienced hiker to lead me to the top of the Superstitions to see if I could make it. Well, I did not get to the actual top but I did get to the ridgeline. For a casual hiker this is a very difficult climb. First you leave from Carney Springs Trailhead and climb up a steep incline to a false saddle, then drop down into a little valley and back up steeply to West Boulder Saddle. You are then just about half way to the ridgeline. From West Boulder Saddle you dip down into the West Boulder Canyon area and then, even with a number of switchbacks, a very steep continued climb to the ridgeline. Once I reached there I had lunch with the group and realized I would run out of daylight if I went on to the actual top. I deferred to a later date for that conquest and started down. Of course I missed a carin on the way down and wandered around the rocks and brush until I found West Boulder Saddle, then carefully down the steep scree slopes back to the trailhead.

I know it says 6.6 miles RT to the summit but my GPS said 7 miles RT to the ridgeline and back. I could be off but who cares because it is an extremely challenging set of trails. I would need most of the daylight hours to reach the actual top, enjoy it for a bit and then return.

If you do go to the top I believe it is equal to 2 Flatirons in difficulty. In fact Flatiron is a bit easier because there you have boulders to climb on. On the Carney to top trails you have many scree places that are quite slippery, especially on descent. The amazing views from the ridgeline are simply head shaking. you look down and see all of Gold Canyon below.

Do this one if you have not and even getting to the ridgeline is a great reward.
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Oct 26 2004
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Cave Trail #233Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 26 2004
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Hiking6.30 Miles 1,400 AEG
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Well now I can join those who have negotiated the Cave Trail on a return from Fremont Saddle up the Peralta Trail. Thanks to Andy who had done it a year ago I agreed to have him lead me back down the Cave Trail. I am VERY glad he was leading! After reading Joe's writeup I was quite concerned about the Cave Trail. First the route looks much more dangerous than it really is. However, to me it is extremely difficult. I have had to "retire" a pair of my hiking Levis from this one. From the Devil's Slide to 4 other "sliding surfaces" I managed to tear a large rip in the seat of my pants. When things get steep for me I either crawl or slide.

OK, I will back up now and start up the Peralta in beautiful morning weather We reached Fremont Saddle, took the mandatory photo and proceeded out to the pinon pine where we rested and marveled again at the total view. On the way back we continued straight instead of turning right back to Fremont. This put us on the Cave Trail. I really thank Joe for his description because the word "trail" really does not apply here. Several times I looked ahead and wondered if I should go. However once along the route I did not feel it was dangerous and the footing was firm even though it was mostly a rocky smooth surface. Forget this one in rainy weather. Most of the route would be very slippery. Then it would be dangerous.

The new vistas you see in Barks Canyon are fantastic. Generally you are on a ridge between Barks and Peralta and the two canyons are amazingly completely different. Once you pass the caves and go around the end of the "cave mountain" the butt sliding begins. Actually it is quite fun but there are many places that slope down and there are many routes one can take.

You cross a little valley and climb through a cathedral set of spires and then start down until you reach the Bluff Springs trail. If you keep going southeast you can't help but hit the Bluff Springs. However there are countless ways to get there. Sure there are a number of carins but a trail? No just a basic direction. Take Bluff Springs back to the Peralta lot and you have completed a circle.

One final word. unless you really know what you are doing do NOT go up the Cave trail. Lots of climbing and tough route finding. Maybe after coming down you can go up--but not me. I do feel it is a very difficult route, a tough 2.7 miles, but worth the views of Superstition Grandeur.
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Sep 21 2004
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Mormon Loop TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2004
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Hiking6.00 Miles 1,375 AEG
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Exactly not the true Mormon Loop but a combination of several trails starting at Mormon Loop.
Don't sell this 6 mile hike short! South Mountain looks easy but this combination of trails is a challenge. It involves Mormon Trail, National trail, Hidden Valley Trail and Geronimo Trail.
Actually this is a pleasant variation on the basic South Mountain Mormon Loop trail. It starts out from the parking lot at the far south end of 24th street in Phoenix. 24th street to te end and a left turn onto Valley View with the lot right there. The trail starts up the mountain to the southeast and is really quite a climb of 700 feet in just over a mile. You reach a plainly marked junction that points to the Mormon loop to the east. We went straight on downhill until we reached the National Trail. The National trail goes east and west and totals about 14 miles for the entire length. Trail bikes can use it so the trail is quite wide and well marked. For great interest and a startling change, take a left turn at National trail and very shortly a trail marked Hidden Valley goes south off of National trail. DEFINITELY take this trail. You will be amazed at the rock formations. The terrain is much different from most of the rest of South Mountain

My photos with this writeup show some Hidden Valley views-particularly the tunnel and Fat Man's Pass. (Yes, Dan and I both got through just fine). We spent lots of time in Hidden Valley checking out rock formations and rock stacking that only nature can do. It appears like big guys set major carins along the way but it is simply nature fooling us.

After passing through Hidden Valley (we had asked people if they knew about Hidden Valley and even hikers who knew the area said they did not know about it) you rejoin the National Trail. Again, I emphasize-don't miss this Hidden Valley area. The natural rock tunnel is amazing. You will enjoy it.

Traveling southwest on the National Trail there are many vistas of valleys to the south and of the greater Phoenix area. The trail is not difficult like the original climb and soon you wind your way around various mountains and can see the TV antennas on the highest point of South Mountain. The trail heads toward them and then tops out at Buena Vista Lookout (where I took the photo of Dan as we had lunch sitting on a provided bench). This vantage point is quite amazing to see the entire Phoenix valley of the sun and to see the ever expanding growth in all directions. Just to think that a short time before in Hidden Valley we would have no idea there was a major city just over the hill!

After lunch we joined the Geronimo Trail going north toward a dead end appearing rock pile at a vista point. Just before getting to the end there is a metal unmarked post with a trail going off to the right. We should have taken that! But, we went to the end of the main trail and battled our way down a steep grade until we knew that was not the trail. We doubled back to reach the trail that had gone down to the right. Lots of rock hopping with a number of drop off areas. Hikers, be sure to note this. At the metal post go down right! Anyway, from here down is quite steep in many places and you lose altitude quickly. Soon you round a corner and see what looked like an terrorist training camp to us with wood scaffolds etc.. Of course it turned out to be a Boy Scout retreat site. OK we knew it was not the former but it sure looked strange when we rounded the corner!!

The only problem with this hike is that the end of the Geronimo Trail goes out to Euclid Avenue and about 20th street. To avoid private properties you have to return to the lot on Euclid. for 4 blocks. The long almost 2 mile downhill does tire one out but the entire hike on these various trails is very rewarding with many surprises. We only saw about 5 other hikers .Many just take the National Trail and would miss the climb up Mormon and the vast beauty of Hidden Canyon. The total distance is just about 6 miles and we stopped often for photos, to enjoy the beauty and for lunch. Our time was about 5 hours. A very worthwhile experience.
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Aug 18 2004
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85 male
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Chiricahua ShuttleTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 18 2004
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Hiking1.50 Miles 1,600 AEG
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Previous people have taken many of the park trails and have good writeups and good photos. However I had never been to the Chiricahua National Monument and combined it with a tour of Kartchner Caverns. Both places are outstanding! I have no photos of the caverns because they do not allow any photography and I can certainly see why with the delicate formations in both the Throne Room and the Rotunda Room. The internet has several web sites that show some of the columns. I highly recommend a stop at the Caverns, about 9 miles south of Benson on highway 90. I have never seen a park with more luxury in the exhibits and the buildings and even the tours with the tram to the entrance and the 1.5 hour easy half mile walk.

From Willcox drive south on state 186 for 35 miles. From the entrance station there is an 8 mile spectacular drive to the top at almost 7000 feet. at Massai Point there is excellent parking and the start of the many trails down among the rock spires. Since we had our two min pins with us (they are terrible hikers and not allowed on the trails)we did not do any major hike even though I wanted to. However, I did sneak with the dogs around the nature trail that drops down from Massai point and rejoins at an exhibit building.

My photos show some from Massai Point, the nature trail and a couple on the canyon highway. All I can say is WOW! You must drive to the park and tour, even if you do not hike. It is absolutely astounding to see the "standing up rocks" The trail surfaces are beautiful and the temp was 68 degres at 11 AM. Many places I just sat and took in the panorama in all directions. next time I definitely will hike some of the longer trails.

On the return trip we turned off the pavement through the Apache Pass to the ruins of Ft. Bowie which is s strange place where many years of army and Indian fighting took place with both Cochise and Geromimo. I love history and stood and tried to hear the old fort sounds. Very lonely and isolated.

Southeast Arizona has many wonders. be sure to visit them.
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Jul 21 2004
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2004
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Hiking4.20 Miles 2,780 AEG
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Siphon Draw

I recently took a couple people up to Siphon Draw and back early one morning. Carlson lists it as easy but the Lost Dutchman Park says it is quite difficult. It really depends on whether you are a seasoned hiker or a novice.

Anyway, since the change at the Lost Dutchman State Park, the Siphon Draw trail is actually 4.2 miles round trip as a 1/2 mile was added to the beginning with different parking lots now. The first half mile is quite level, smooth trail, labeled plants and signs about animals etc. The next 1.6 miles to the draw is on a rocky trail that is really quite a climb. If my trig is anywhere near correct it climbs 1030 feet in that 1.6 miles and that is quite close to an average 7% climb. The trail is not hard but I certainly do not call it easy- not like Jacob's crosscut for example.

I think this hike is particularly significant because it ventures into the actual Superstition range into a spectacular canyon with high walls and the actual Flatiron almost always ahead at the top; rather like a goal for the hearty, physically fit and experienced. As has been previously written, if you want a nice hike, with several rest stops and you want to see some real wild country, go to the actual draw and maybe up the draw to the right to where the more athletic venture on up the boulder hopping canyon.

Plan to take a lunch or a snack because, once you reach the draw, it affords some great places to sit in the canyon and marvel at how nature has formed this smooth rock surface. One can only imagine how the water can come down through here and has done so for thousands of years. In the photos I tried to show the trail up, some of the views and some of the actual draw. The waterfall site is dry much of the year but in the fall, winter and spring it can offer some good cold water for faces and hands if coming down from the top. I would not drink it without purification but it is welcome to cool off.

Finally, it takes me one hour and 40 minutes to get to the draw and one can see many different hikers on this trail. On this last hike we saw an actual runner who was really flying down the trail. He said he had been to the pinnacles near the Flatiron at the top and was headed back down. I have seen groups of people older than I headed for the ridgeline and even saw a woman 7 months pregnant who stopped often but I believe made it to the draw. This is the only hike where I have seen people smoking while they hike. It is all I can do to continue up the trail grades, much less smoke while doing it.

So, if you want a bit more than a flat hike around part of the Superstitions and would like to get IN to one of the canyons with all the beauty, try Siphon Draw. It is very quiet up there and one feels very small!
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Mar 30 2004
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Weaver's Needle Loop from Peralta THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2004
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Hiking12.45 Miles 3,122 AEG
Hiking12.45 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   1.19 mph
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WEAVER'S NEEDLE LOOP

With our usual infinite intelligence Trish, Dan and I set off Tuesday, March 30 to hike the Weaver's Needle Loop on a record heat day! We were very aware that the temperature was predicted to be quite high and we thought we would go up Bluff Springs to Terrapin and up Terrapin to opposite the needle for some photos and then probably come back. Well, we got to our proposed turn around point and there was a nice breeze. We did not feel that hot so we continued.. The farther you go on this trail the less you want to turn back. We plowed on to Dutchmans, over to Peralta and back to Fremont Saddle and down to the car. My averaged out total mileage was 12.45 miles. Carlson says 12.4 and many say 12.2. I am sure it is one of those.

We followed Joe's advice and went up Bluff Springs first. We had known that was called "cardiac hill" but it is only about 600 yards of climbing with many built in steps and we reached the top quite easily, being fresh and early in the AM. Joe also describes this hike as a roller coaster ride and he is very right. I do not know of another hike that has as many ups and downs-too many to count. It says there is a gain of 2646 feet and you get back to where you start so you also have to go down 2646. I always love to face the Peralta trail south on the way home because it is real easy to lose elevation on that trail. Very little scree and wide clear trails.

Back to the east side of the needle. We came to the Bluff Springs-Terrapin junction and the next 3 miles gave us the most up and down effort plus several surprises. First a very large rabbit ran across our path in a big hurry and I though we might be in Alice in Wonderland. Not a half mile from there Dan said "look" and we saw an actual Gila Monster and I was thrilled to see one in the wild. We realize they are very poisonous but they do not like us and he was scurrying away. An absolutely beautiful animal with alternating black and yellow-orange spots. He moved pretty well but did want to get away from us.

Now the views of Weaver's Needle from the east became more and more spectacular and we got closer with the large and then small ups and downs. The Terrapin trail is not as traveled as others and the early rains this year have caused extensive growth which, in places, touches side to side over the trail. Hard to believe we were in a desert. We started down from Terrapin pass and were approaching a clear spot saddle like area when Trish, who was about 10 yards ahead, suddenly leaped about 19 feet in the air and came down running up the trail. A very pronounced rattle off to the right had warned her. I think she set a world record if there is such an event. It was quite a good size diamondback. He did not like us and we did not like him so we carefully and slowly moved around him. He was not on the trail but about 5 feet off under a bush. Once we calmed ourselves we started again down Terrapin to the Dutchman but only about 100 yards ahead I suddenly heard and loud rattle just to my right and about 2 feet from me. I looked down and this one was about 2 feet long. He was upset but we moved past. I think he was part of the family of the guy up top who had warned us.

Another quarter mile down Dan saw a snake in the trail. It was a dead female bull snake and was about 4 feet long so Dan flipped it off into the brush. No more animal activity for the rest of the hike. That was certainly enough. The climb up Peralta was quite deadly because the afternoon heat reached 97 in Mesa and Peralta could not have been far behind. We stopped very often due to the heat and the many climbs. I drank over 6 liters of water and was thankful we all had enough. I will add some of my photos but the accomplishment certainly is that I have now completely circled Weaver's Needle on the trails and have photos and views from every angle. Although this hike is rated as moderate, it certainly is more difficult in the heat of the day and with the many climbs. Joe warned me about the scree coming down on Terrapin and I can see how difficult this would be trying to go up that long climb; lots of slippery gravel and few good footholds. I would rate this hike as more than moderate due to length and weather. It is really a fabulous experience but take your time. Maybe some can do this in about 8 hours but it took us 10.5 hours hiking time. Trish is now concerned that she attracts snakes. It was simply the hot weather that brought them out early this year. Always remember, they do not like us and we do not like them. NEVER attempt to get closer. Go around slowly and leave them alone. Of course it is common sense to watch where you step. This is a harder hike than Black Mesa or even First Water to Peralta but it is astounding with rock formations and hoo doos of every imaginable shape. I loved it even though I could barely walk for two days afterward!
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Mar 09 2004
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2004
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Hiking5.80 Miles 2,780 AEG
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So much has been written about Siphon Draw and the Flatiron that it is probably hard to try to add anything new. However I wanted to submit some photos of my trip on the 9th of March since everything was so very green and I want my friends in other states to see how green the desert can actually be. I mention the 9th of March because my camera somehow reverted back about 10 years for the date stamp. I do not know why but I will reset it.

Anyway, the day was beautiful and we started just after 7 AM. We are slow hikers so we rest lots (whether we need it or not!). I had not made it completely to the top of the Flatiron before so I was excited that I would finally get there. This is duck soup to many but to me, at 69 was a major accomplishment since I never started to hike until I was 67. I have been in AA for 30 years and stopped smoking 8 years ago after 46 years puffing my life away. At one time even to climb stairs was a chore. Now I can look at the Flatiron and say that I stood up there!

It is to be noted that the actual RT distance now is 5.8 miles and not 4.8 because one can not go to the trailhead after the remodel of the park. You need to take the Discovery Trail for ½ mile before you hit the actual Siphon Draw trail. Congratulations to all the hotshots and in shape hikers because it took me about 5 hours to the top and 4 hours down. My legs and knees are not developed as I studied to be a couch potato most of my life.

This hike is the best in the area. No doubt it is worth all the effort to get to stand on that promontory! Once you get to the actual draw where some water was running, your work starts up to the right and over a rise and you see a trail starting to the right. Haz Joe is right that there are 3 canyons and you must take the far right one. Within a couple hundred feet the boulder climbing starts and it is strenuous but doable. We unfortunately veered right about a third of the way up and found ourselves trying to climb up a rock fall that was slippery and nasty. We had to traverse across an avalanche field for about 30 yards and then climb (slide) down to the proper canyon again. The first word of caution is to stay in the canyon and rock climb over the boulders all the way to the top. It is easier. The plane crash site is also easy to locate but we did not go over to it as, like Fritzki, I think the entire site should be left alone. Just before the top there is the 10 foot vertical but bracing with your feet can get you up that and the trails around the top are very easy. Sadly I did notice a few plastic and glass bottles that really disgust me. I would like to find those people and throw rocks into their living rooms!

I still think that the West boulder Saddle is more dangerous on the descent because of all the scree and dirt and few big boulders for any hand holds. It is very easy to slip. Coming down from the Flatiron is more bouldering with many footholds. To me then the Flatiron is a bit more strenuous going up and West Boulder Saddle-Carney Springs more tenuous coming down. My legs felt the WBS descent much more than the Flatiron.

So, it may not be a big deal to those in shape or the younger guys, but to me it is a definite accomplishment that I will always cherish!
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Mar 05 2004
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 Gold Canyon, AZ
West Boulder SaddlePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 05 2004
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Hiking2.40 Miles 1,400 AEG
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To me it is well worth it and the views at the top of the saddle are fabulous! I know that the touigh guys go on up the West Boulder Canyon OR hit the Ridgeline. Not yet for me.

Note that the actual distance from the Carney Springs Trailhead RT is 3.6 miles but we started at Don's Camp to park the car in a safe place and that added 2 miles RT on the Lost Goldmine Trail.

I write my trip logs to try to balance off the hotshots who hike at a pace I can not. I am now 69 and never went on a hike until I was 66. I marvel at some of the times that are logged and I do envy the young people who seem to scurry along at a frantic pace. I can hike just about anywhere if given enough time.

This hike is a constant climb with hand use required in a number of places. it is well worth the effort. The West Boulder Saddle is spectacular and the lush green as far as one can see certainly dispells anyone's concept of "desert". The trail is rocky with lots of loose gravel and dirt (I slipped twice). Once you pass "T rock" the climb gets steeper. Finally you reach a crest only to find it is a false saddle (as referred by Joe Bartels so I was ready for it). A short rest there and then down for the final climb to the actual saddle. Both at the false saddle and the real one there are hoodoos and great photo chances.

Once I figure out how to have my photos transferred to my trip logs I will share some of them. Please realize that I used to use phones that cranked on the side so give me some "tech slack".
Coming down from west boulder saddle is very hard on the thighs.
Best plan for several rest stops unless you are one of the hotshot hikers. I feel this is a great but strenuous hike. I can not even envision someone who would do this and continue over the ridgeline. I feel the West Boulder Saddle from Carney is a harder climb that the Flatiron. Of course if i had stayed on the trail and followed the carins better it would have been easier. A couple times I found myself climbing hand over hand while my hiking partner was "walking" about 15 feet away. However, the trail is generally easy to follow. i made it more difficult than it is.

Hooray I have found how to send photos. Well computers are scary--I think!
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Feb 20 2004
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Lost Goldmine Trail - Cloudview to LG THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 20 2004
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This completed our circle around the large Superstition Range. We are novice hikers and we love to take photos and rest lots. Most of our times are longer than an avid hiker would take. However, we wanted to do this short "connector" between Lost Goldmine and Jacob's crosscut. Now it is possible to go from the start of Jacob;s crosscut on First Water road about 7 miles to the Lost Goldmine, 4.5 miles to the heirogpyphic trailhead (1.25 miles down a dirt road which is Cloudview) and 6 miles over to Peralta trailhead. I like to write this description since the 7 plus 4.5 plus 6 equals 17.5 - actually 18 total - covers much of the west and south sides of the main Superstition Range. The signs are very clear and there are even many carins that really are not needed in most cases. I would highly recommend this hike for the casual hiker. Even though it is rather long, it is generally quite easy with very few hills to climb and the spectacular views of the various sides of the Superstition Range are constantly astounding. The several canyons are very visible, forests of Saguaros and desert foilage that amazes most visitors.

If you want to spend a day very close to civilization and yet skirting this famous range, this is definitely the hike to take. The connector now makes it possible to do the entire route. We did note one large bull and a cow on the connector trail. I guess they were tame although we kept our eyes on the nearby fence if we had to move fast.

This is really an all age trail. after doing several within the Superstitions I feel this one very easy. Make a day of it and si9mply enjoy these rugged cliffs and canyons.
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Feb 10 2004
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West Boulder Saddle, AZ 
West Boulder Saddle, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2004
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Note that the actual distance from the Carney Springs Trailhead RT is 3.6 miles but we started at Don's Camp to park the car in a safe place and that added 2 miles RT on the Lost Goldmine Trail.

I write my trip logs to try to balance off the hotshots who hike at a pace I can not. I am now 69 and never went on a hike until I was 66. I marvel at some of the times that are logged and I do envy the young people who seem to scurry along at a frantic pace. I can hike just about anywhere if given enough time.

This hike is a constant climb with hand use required in a number of places. it is well worth the effort. The West Boulder Saddle is spectacular and the lush green as far as one can see certainly dispells anyone's concept of "desert". The trail is rocky with lots of loose gravel and dirt (I slipped twice). Once you pass "T rock" the climb gets steeper. Finally you reach a crest only to find it is a false saddle (as referred by Joe Bartels so I was ready for it). A short rest there and then down for the final climb to the actual saddle. Both at the false saddle and the real one there are hoodoos and great photo chances.

Once I figure out how to have my photos transferred to my trip logs I will share some of them. Please realize that I used to use phones that cranked on the side so give me some "tech slack".
Coming down from west boulder saddle is very hard on the thighs.
Best plan for several rest stops unless you are one of the hotshot hikers. I feel this is a great but strenuous hike. I can not even envision someone who would do this and continue over the ridgeline. I feel the West Boulder Saddle from Carney is a harder climb that the Flatiron. Of course if i had stayed on the trail and followed the carins better it would have been easier. A couple times I found myself climbing hand over hand while my hiking partner was "walking" about 15 feet away. However, the trail is generally easy to follow. i made it more difficult than it is.
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Jan 27 2004
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Black Mesa Loop - Superstition MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2004
OhOh7
Hiking9.50 Miles 1,125 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.73 mph
1,125 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This is a great hike. One of the best from a scenery standpoint. we started at First Water trailhead and followed it to Second Water trailhead that is clearly marked with a post. from second Water Trailhead we went though some washes to Garden Valley with large flat clear areas with mesas all around and the Four Peaks very clear to the NE. Another junction with Black Mesa is clearly marked and it goes south over the right side of Black Mesa and then a short up hill jaunt to a vast expanse of jumping cholla, an actual forest of them. Then to the south Weaver's Needle prominently stands on the other side of Boulder canyon. the photo opportunities are everywhere.

From this plateau you make your way down to some creek beds and follow around until you drop into the Boulder Canyon floor. great place for lunchn as there are several rocks around the trail junction sign to sit on.

At that point we turn back west on the Dutchman trail to return to the First water trailhead via Parker Pass. This loop and the Bluff Springs Loop are two of my favorites. It is amazing that such wild country is so near to my home in Gold Canyon. The rock formations are astounding and this set of trails is esxtremely well marked. Always be sure to take enough water. I have been with a few hikers who try to take a bottle or two and, even on cool days, it is easy to get dehydrated.

This hike does not involve any hand over hand climbing and I would classify it, for me, as moderate. It is one of the "if I can do it, anyone can" hikes.

Again, someday I will understand how to send photos because I did get some great pix.
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Jan 20 2004
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Camelback Summit - Cholla THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 20 2004
OhOh7
Hiking3.00 Miles 1,275 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   4 Hrs      0.75 mph
1,275 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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I am going to take some exception with those who think this short hike is a walk in the park! I know it is listed as a 4 but so is Echo Canyon and Echo Canyon is much easier. I have been up that trail several times. The main problem with Cholla is the various heights you will experience and the final quarter mile that is absolutel rock climbing with no real trail. I have walked all over the Superstitions and even been up to the Flatiron but I stopped on the Cholla trail with about a quarter mile to go. A couple of our party went on up--hand over hand--and when they came back they said there were a couple "scary" places just before the summit. I know that many of the writeups come from seasoned hikers and younger hikers. I am just about 70 and, although I can hike for many miles, the rock climbing stops me. I know it is only a quartermile or less but the last pitch to the top of Camelback on the Cholla trail is extremely challenging. I do have a bit of vertigo and that is no place to be with such. There are plaes where the drop offs are quite sudden and steep and you would fall a long way.

If one wants a real great hike, go up to the saddle. you will see where it is. Several people were there and told me they do not go higher due to the rock climbing and the heights. I do not mind some boulder hopping as long as I have only one way to fall. However up there I found 3 ways I could fall and I draw the line there. Obviously I am not a mountain climber.

Anyway, it was fun even though we did not make it to the top. Since I have been there from the Echo Canyon side I did not consider it a defeat.

Roger Dickey
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
Jan 12 2004
OhOh7
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 Guides 15
 Routes 2
 Photos 1,591
 Triplogs 81

85 male
 Joined Dec 11 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver's ViewPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 12 2004
OhOh7
Hiking9.80 Miles 2,250 AEG
Hiking9.80 Miles   6 Hrs      1.63 mph
2,250 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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My write up of this hike is a bit different. The first time we tried it on December 9, 2003 we went east on the Dutchman to the coffee Flat junction and north on the dutchman until we missed the switchback around a boulder (one small flat rock with another smaller one on it---kind of a poor man's cairn!) went up close to Miner's Needle and looked for the trail. Since I seem to have a single digit IQ we did not backtrack to find the trail. Instead we bushwacked down the creek bed back to Trail 104 and then back to the lot at Peralta trailhead.

with the help of Joe Bartel and Fritzki and some of the pix I did find the switchback and what to look for. January 12 we struck out again; but this time we started up the Bluff Springs trail which is a hefty climb to the top of the ridge and then the whole world opens up! We followed trail 235 past the junction with Terrapin and east along a creek bed to the junction with the Dutchmans 104. We then followed 104 Southwest up past Whiskey Springs junction, then around Miner's needle. this time we definitely saw the switchback we had missed, had lunch at the boulder that hides the switchback and came down to the Coffee Flat Junction then west to peralta Trailhead.

This total loop offers a number of different terrains. Either way you go you will experience some climbing and some downhill negotiations. nothing really difficult and the trails are well marked--except maybe along the creek bed to the actual Bluff Spring.

Also note that the time given for this clockwise loop is OUR time as we stop often, take photos, eat lunch, tell jokes and enjoy the vistas. I clocked the total distance as 9.85 miles and most of you would do it much faster than we did. I really liked the hike because of the varied vistas, the many Weaver's Needle views, the canyon to Miner's Needle and the various "hidden" valleys. I think this hike is more difficult than Black mesa but probably not a true level 4. very enjoyable and you only meet a very few people on a weekday.
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Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.
average hiking speed 1.25 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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