Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

The Challenge of Climbing Flatiron Mountain

©Bert Gildart:  This past Sunday Don, Nancy (our Airstream travel companions) and I hiked and climbed to the top of Flatiron Mountain, high atop the Superstition Mountains.  Though the first part of the trip was easy, the last part was almost as difficult as climbing Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park, which I did several years ago.

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Note trail which courses from campground below and then through center of image.


The trip begins from Lost Dutchman Campground where hikers access the Siphon Draw Trail, which begins climbing almost immediately.  The trail, however, is well maintained and we easily ascended to an area commonly referred to as The Waterfalls.  The Siphon Draw Trail ends here but a route continues on, and though easy to follow is not easy to climb.

All along the way hikers must climb around boulders and in several places, it helped if one were acquainted with the concept of three-point holds before moving further upward.  The route continues in this manner for about a mile but eventually breaks out into an opening.  Views are spectacular and rocks formations incredible.  Spires jut up and views of the sprawling town of Apache Junction become more of an abstraction rather than a distraction.

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L to R:  Slick rock over which water falls subsequent to rain; ascending route to Flatiron, seen in background; descending Flatiron.

As we wandered around the top, which is like a plateau, we found the black spot which represents the disastrous plane crash from this past November.  According to the report, a father flying his own personal plane picked up his children for Thanksgiving and apparently misjudged the height of Superstition Mountain, which is about 5,000 feet elevation. The plane reportedly hit the mountain at about 4,500 feet, and we could easily see the scorch marks on the spires. Some debris remained at the base.

But this is not a report on tragedies, just simply an observation, and the hike was dramatized – and dominated by – the beauty which surrounded us.  Indian legends report that the mountains hold the spirits of their deceased, and settlers, learning about the stories, began to call the mountains the Superstitions.

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L to R:  View of Flatiron just past point where “route” breaks out above boulder fields; view from Flatiron; igneous spires forming part of Flatiron’s intrigue.


Climbing and then descending Flatiron required the use of upper body muscles which I had not used for hiking or climbing in some time and, now, several days later, I’m still feeling the effects.  But that’s OK, as the majority seem to turn around when the reach The Falls, and that’s too bad as the panoramas from the top are truly astounding.




*Padre Island is a Birder’s Paradise


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