Today we decided to attack the Little Floridas from two different approaches and – hopefully – meet at the top, have lunch and then do our descent. It was a perfect day for hiking… clear, 65 degree high and very light winds. We started at about 10 am.
I decided to go up the wash where the Thunderegg excavations are. I know there are rough paths up there, and, slacker hiker that I am, this appealed to me.
No worries really, just picked my way around prickly pear and shin daggers. I reached the top of the wash around 11 am.
From there the terrain opens up to a saddle, with an outcrop of cliffs on the other side. (Where the radio towers are).
I scoped out this higher ridge as I traversed the saddle, until I found a spot where I thought I could reach the summit with least effort (remember, slacker hiker). No real problems dragging myself up, just a few tricky handholds and moments of lying prostrate on one boulder to get to another.
My only real scare was when I was buzzed by two bees and one landed on me. All I could think of was “killer” bees. But they went their way and I went mine and everything was cool.
I reached the summit at about noon. I wandered around a bit and enjoyed the views of the plains on the other (east) side of the Floridas, and the “Big” Floridas stretching toward the south.
Ric came into view on the saddle shortly (such a relief to connect!), and by 1 pm we were having lunch together.
I actually started my “up” before Linda because her ascent trail was another third of a mile along “Thunder Egg Trail” which we both used to get to our approach to the top. My plan was to attack it head on – to the left of the cliffs and straight up the wash.
As I got closer, my route looked a lot steeper and strewn with gravel which tends to act like ball bearings when I walk on it. I decided to head to the right as the “cliffs” started to look more approachable and seemed a better route to the top. Also I was going behind the first set of cliffs as viewed from lower and into a slot that appeared to go toward where I wanted to be. Things were a bit steep so I didn’t feel comfortable taking a photo until I was right up against the rock wall I was attempting to skirt. At one point I slipped, but fortunately there was a prickly pear to stop my descent. Unfortunately I started to resemble a pin cushion at that point. Long story short I finger and toed it up on vertical rock wall, adrenaline pumping and heart in my mouth the whole way, only to arrive at another vertical clamber. This wall had a path along it’s base and plenty of hand holds so I was able to skirt it while still gaining altitude.
Finally, I was at the “top” only to find it was the wrong hill! I still had another rise to go, but fortunately the footing and terrain were more suited to my skills, rather than those of a mountain goat. As I was working my way across the saddle toward the “real” top when I heard a yell- it was Linda! She was already at the top, and I found out later had been for some time. I took a picture of her but in looking at it later, she was an unrecognizable speck.
In a half an hour we were ennoying lunch and watching the traffic on Route 10, twenty miles away.
After lunch we decided to hike over the back (East side) of the ridge to see if there was an easier, “cliff free” descent.
We were rewarded with a steep and rocky, but not vertical, descent. We cut back West to the saddle and then down the ravine that Linda had ascended. We crabbed our way to one of the hillside paths that connected to Thunder Egg Trail.
We finished up our “Assault on the Little Floridas” back to the RV a little after 3 pm, for some cold, well deserved Brew.