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Flatiron Day Hike
Superstition Mountains
September 21, 2019
by Debbie Rowray
  GPS Map 
Elevation
by David
group
Chris, Debbie, Keith, David  [photo by Debbie]
Four adventurous hikers set out on an early Saturday morning to conquer, once again, Flatiron: the domineering climb on Superstition Mountain. We all know too well how relentless it can be. The weather was perfect as the sun rose behind the cliffs ahead of us, and slowly our destination became clearly visible as we started ascending toward our goal.

The first part of the trail is flat, and then gradually rises as the path steepens. The smooth, lava slide area commonly known as “the bowl” is an obstacle course of balance and mental knowledge of the ascent ahead.

We stopped to talk to some fellow hikers on a ledge overlooking a canyon to the left of the trail, and were very lucky to capture the sights of bighorn sheep gracefully scampering up the mountain. They seemed not to bother with our words of awe echoing across the wilderness.

As Flatiron’s massive outcrop became closer, we noticed that it seemed we were following a different trail than normal. As we progressed, the north wall of Flatiron seemed eerily close. My counterparts were very patient and supportive as the last part of this “unknown” trail was completed to the saddle, where Flatiron lies just a few hundred feet to the right. Indeed, this was an exploratory route, although, by far we were not the first to ascend this way. In notation, this route was steeper, a little more intimidating and required more boulder hopping than the popular ascent.

sign sign
The trails are well signed. [photos by Debbie]
silhouette
Profile of the Flatiron, from the trailhead. [photo by Debbie]
silhouette
The sun will be rising soon. [photo by Debbie]r04_FI9
Debbie
It’s a rocky climb. [photo by Chris]
top
We made it to the top! [photo by Chris]

It is amazing to witness the Phoenix metropolis below, the spectacular mountain ranges surrounding the summit, and the little ground squirrels floating around begging for snacks. On the far ridge, Peak 5057 boasts its high peak on this side of the Superstition range, and before us, Peak 5024 was calling our names.

view
What a view! [photo by Chris]
hikers
David, Debbie, Keith: three happy hikers. [photo by Chris]
hoodoos
Hoodoos. [photo by David]

After a snack and visiting with others enjoying the views, we ventured to share in peaceful thoughts for the lost in a terrible plane wreck years prior. After a few somber moments, we ventured up Peak 5024, among the strength of a maze of towering hoodoos. From the summit of Peak 5024, the view of Flatiron is almost surreal below us, and for miles one can enjoy the layers of mountainous beauty all around.

crash
Plaque commemorating victims of the crash. [photo by David]
bighorn
Bighorn sheep. [photo by David]
down
Looking down on the Flatiron. [photo by David]

Our hike down was one of endurance and the use of all appendages to keep balance and still enjoy what this beautiful mountain has to offer. As the sun made its way over the top of Superstition Mountain, the temperature rose, yet we prevailed in our completion of our excruciating adventure.

I will only speak for myself when it comes to this hike, yet I know my three buddies today and many I have hiked with in the past and will in the future long for this challenge and will hike it over and over again. It seems the terrain and paths change over time, and it is daring every time you face this mountain trail.

I want to thank David, Chris, and Keith for joining me on this hike and for the moral support it takes at times to complete such a task as this. Thank you, David, for AWESOME statistics!

Hike Stats:

7.6 miles with the inclusion of summiting Peak 5024
Minimum elevation: 2050 ft
Maximum elevation: 4977 ft
Elevation change: +-3082 ft

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated September 24, 2019