The adventure of a lifetime is over but I still have many unpublished hikes to put up. Here is one, it was great and it has been very enjoyable rereading it and looking through my photos. XxPCTGG
Turkey D, Mia and I (Quiz) have been in Phoenix all weekend staying with out PCT pals Bob/Goliath and Dave/Six Strings. Unfortunately Dave had to work but Goliath is retired and he is always up for some adventures. In true Goliath style (remember his off road diving over the dunes by Lake Isabella?) we knew we were in for something a little bit crazy. To quote Bob, “this is not a boring hike!”
Bob was right, it was a great hike, but the second half was more rock scramble and rock climbing than hiking. We drove to the outskirts of Phoenix and arrived at the trailhead by 7am. It was still cool and the sun was sitting low behind the Superstitions, so we were in shade for most of the hike. The flat desert valley that is full of the city and Sequaro cactus (literally the ones that look like this emoji 🌵) quickly fell behind us as we climbed directly into the foothills of this very imposing mountain range. Mia chose to stay in the valley and paint while Turkey D and I followed Bob into the mountains. We hiked towards and then up into a steep valley that fell away from between the Range’s tallest peaks, and Bob pointed out the valley (really more of a gully) that we were following to the top.
As the path got higher, it got steeper. The rocks and sand soon gave way to large boulders and exposed rock face, never ending in beautiful curving rock valleys. For some reason the unpunctuated rock face reminds me of bowling allies. We were all already sweaty when we reached the halfway point in the climb and the place where most hikers turn around, a saddle the revealed the final climb. We sat and ate delicious marzipan busicuts that Bob brought back from the recent trip to Switzerland, and contemplated the track, that literally went straight up an incredibly steep gully. This is gonna be tough!
We started hiking and it got steep immediately. We climbed up and over rocks, some of them loose and slippery some naturally carved into square steps. The trail was so steep that we could rarely see far in front, and we seemed to move so slowly up the valley even though I felt we were keeping a good speed. The cliffs around us were steep and red and sometimes the cacti were arranged so perfectly it felt like we were in a garden.
3/4 of the way up the valley we stopped all feeling the climb and ready to be at the top.
Little did we know (Bob definitely knew!) that the steepest part was yet to come. The scrambling started to steepen into vague bouldering territory and soon we reached a 4m high vertical stone wall with a tree growing out of it. Bob delftly used the tree to heave himself up and over, Turkey D made short work of it and then I spent a good 5 minutes trying different leg combinations and manoeuvres as you had to hold yourself in some awkward positions, and finally made it to the top with some help from Bob. I was pretty fucking stoked with myself, a feeling the only increased as a short while later we were at the top of the Flat Iron looking at Phoenix from way way up in the air. What a great place, some smart people were camped up here in sheltered nooks in the cliff.
We sat and had more snacks and asked Bob many questions about all the surrounding landmarks and also the Arizona Trail that sounds flipping excellent! We then went exploring along the peaks hunting views to the east and the rest of the range. Such an ruggard jagged vista but breakfast was calling and we decided to make our way back to the car and a diner asap. The trip down was a lot faster but also a lot more painful on our knees. Turkey D and I are still sore 2 days later, especially in the upper body as to help our knees out we lowered ourselves down rocks with our arms. But we think it’s a great price to pay for such an exciting hike.
Thanks so much to Bob, Judi and Dave for having us stay, we are starting to dub our post PCT travels as the Lovely People Tour of America. Crystals later visited Phoenix and Bob took her on the same hike!