A month ago my friend Craig stopped at my house in Phoenix on his road trip across the US. His second day there he looked at me and said, “I want to go on a hike, and I don’t care how hard it is.” Well I looked right at him and said “I’ve got just the hike for you.” (with a devilish grin) The next morning we headed out bright and early to the Lost Dutchman State Park to cook breakfast and prepare for our hike up to the Flatiron via the Siphon Draw trail.
The Flatiron is an iron like rock formation on the top of the Superstition Mountains located in The Lost Dutchman State Park. You gain 2,780 ft in less than 2.7 miles! (that’s steeper than most sections of the Grand Canyon.) We hiked the trail in the middle of our blooming season, so the area was full of color with all the grass and flowers. Be careful if you hike this trail in the hot months, because it is extremely hot out the with very little shade.
Hedgehoge Cactus blooming by the trail
The top of this hike has amazing/terrifying views in all directions from the top and on the way up. Watch yourself once you get to the top because there is some very big exposure up on top of the Flatiron. Overall this hike is very difficult, but extremely rewarding. We spent over 7 hours out exploring, but you can hike the full trail round trip in about 3.5 – 5 hours. You can find more trail information by clicking here.
The Lost Dutchman State Park is scheduled to close June 3rd, 2010 and ongoing discussions are being held to help find financial solutions to this park along with 4 other parks. This is already after 5 parks have been closed and 10 other park’s operation hours have been cut. For more information on the closings contact (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit AZStateParks.com.
I bet a lot of you really want to go somewhere but you think because you have an old car it wont make it out of town. Well in some cases you may be right, but usually your old car can take you a lot farther than you think. I had a 1989 Ford Probe that I bought for $800 in Carson City, NV. I had it for 3 months when I decided I wanted to take a road trip all the way around the USA. I really wanted to go but I didn’t want to take my old car and get stuck somewhere on the road. The only problem was that I would never be able to afford a new car….So I decided to find out a little more about cars.
Autozone has a feature on their website where you can plug in the year/ make/ model of your car and then you will get a complete repair manual for your car. It will tell you everything from how to take out your engine to changing your fuses. First I always suggest that you change your spark plugs and wires ( which is very easy and inexpensive. ) This will make your car run smoother and get better gas mileage. Another thing to remember is to ALWAYS check your oil and other fluids before you leave on an extended drive. It is very easy and only takes a second. Something as small as checking your fluids can add YEARS on your old car. Just don’t think because you added 3 quarts last week that it wont need another 3 this week. Some older cars can burn through oil at an alarming rate! At that point I usually suggest selling it (maybe on craigslist?) and getting a new one. When I went on my road trip I would drive for 3 hours and then let my car cool down and check all my fluids. This is a good thing to do for any car when your driving a long distance.
You can also invest in AAA or some other type of roadside assistance. You can find this through many different places like insurance companies, and even some phone companies. This will help in case you need a tow, change a flat, run out of gas, lock your keys in your car, ect…..I upgraded my policy through Gieco and got roadside assistance and full coverage for $60/ month (prices vary by age, driving record, ect….) I never had to use it and I downgraded when the trip was done but I had it if I needed it.
The last bit of advice is to make sure somebody knows where you’re at and what you’re driving. This is a very small detail but its nice to know that if something happens to you that someone knows at least where you were headed. It may sound bleak but its a great precaution to take.
Other than those few tips I just want to say….”don’t let anything hold you back from what you really want to do”. Where there’s a will there’s a way right? Get out there and see more than your hometown. Even if that just means going on a “country cruise” a few towns over. Just remember to check your fluids!
I’ve been traveling since 2005 and I’m on the constant journey to extend my adventures. I started this website so I can write articles about what I experience and learn on the road or where ever I’m calling home.
You can also use this site to contact me for guided hikes, rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, or backpacking trips.
I’m a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR) through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and a certified Kayak Touring Instructor through the American Canoeing Association (ACA). I have also been an outdoor guide since 2006 and I’ve led guided kayaking, rafting, canoeing, biking, hiking, and backpacking trips.
I have included few helpful links for jobs and other helpful traveling tools on this site too, so bookmark my site, leave some comments, check back often, and Get Out There!
Tip: Click the icon on the lower right corner of the video for full-screen mode and a great view!