When I was about 22, I first experienced the high that you get when you claim victory over the intense 2800 ft. climb to the top of the Flatiron. Oh yeah, I've been craving it ever since. But this hike is 5 hours long, and when Russ and I attempted it while we were dating, we had to turn back because the sun was going down, and Russ has bum knees. The mountain and I were tied. Oh, the agony of defeat!
Living in the east valley, you can't avoid seeing the Superstition Mountains almost every time you go out. There it was, constantly tempting me, mocking me... year after year! Yesterday was the day I finally faced it again... with Russ, Will, and Kyle.
Will climbed the first big rock he found after the tedious, but boring, climb to the base of the mountain. I called this area the mouth of Flatiron.
This is where the trail gets serious. This is also where Russ and I turned back over a decade ago, but he was determined to make it farther this time. He did, but this is the last picture you'll see him in until we met back up with him at the end. See what's ahead of us? After this first big push and a 1300' foot ascent, we crested a bend, and the intense one mile 1500' climb to the top came into view. He was done.
The boys and I pressed on, and after much effort, turned to look back at an incredible view. The Usery Mountains that were once next to us, were now down in the valley below.
However, after climbing and climbing for what seemed like forever, that darn Flatiron was still above us! Why did it feel like we were still at the bottom? About 20 minutes after leaving Russ, we were at least in its shadow.
These guys had lots of fun climbing the big boulders.
As I was scaling the final 12 foot wall, I heard Kyle say, "Snow!" I thought he was kidding, but he actually threw a snowball.
There were a few century plants scattered about, some much taller than this one.
After three grueling hours of going vertical -- VICTORY! Can you feel it?
The boys at the top of the world (well, it felt like the top of the world).
How awesome is this to be relaxing upon this lofty perch? We earned it, baby.
I knew Kyle was feeling the high, too.
Okay, this is my happy place.
Apparently I couldn't stop smiling, even though my cell coverage was very spotty as I was trying to let Russ know we made it.
We saw lots of little chipmunks, tiny lizards, and two big beastly lizards. They weren't very afraid of us, either!
On the way down, the exhaustion was definitely taking its toll.
And of course, I had to take a few nature shots.
The trek down was in many ways more treacherous than the climb. We had to use our hands, squat, and slide, all with wobbly legs. I texted Russ to let him know he was smart to turn back. I am pretty sure we would have had to life flight him outta there. This is Will taking a break after a scary fall.
Leaving the mouth of Flatiron five hours after setting out, I took a look back at where we had been. This picture doesn't come close to letting you take it all in. All I could think was, "YES!"
We found Russ on Jacob's Cross-cut trail, waiting in the shade.
No, I can't resist a couple more nature shots. Trust me, I'm sparing you... if anyone's still listening.
The wildflowers were beautiful... white, yellow, orange, purple, and red-orange. In fact, we were all surprised at the amount of greenery we saw as we looked out over the Valley of the Sun.
I'm ready for Four Peaks. Well, maybe not today.