Howdy adventure subscribers! Things have been quite busy for the CCC as of late- getting ready to head to Tanzania for my Kilimanjaro ascent in less than 4 weeks!
I wanted to share this link with you from GrindTV that featured an interview I recently did with Johnie Gall in case you have not had a chance to check it out. Grind TV is really cool- it shares some great stories all about adventurers from all walks of life.
I feel like I have had so many really humbling, exciting, amazing and invigorating adventures to share- I am certainly a VERY lucky girl!!
Let’s get to my most recent one!
I had this one on my agenda on my return drive home from an amazing Yoga Retreat I went to at Eden Springs near Safford AZ. I completed this on Sunday May 19th.
I got to the mountain by 10am. Had it been any later in the day or year it would have been too hot- also the snakes are out and this is a scramble. I would suggest staying away from this one mid May through mid September.
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD:
From the Phoenix area, take US-60 East toward the town of Superior. Between mile markers 221 and 222, turn right on FR231. If you get to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, you’ve gone too far. Take FR231 0.3 miles to a T intersection. Turn left onto FR310 (also known as Saddleridge trail). The signed Arizona Trailhead is 0.6 miles from this point. There is plenty of parking and pit toilets.
4 miles and some change RT of of scrambling, loose rock, route finding, and rattlesnakes with over 2200 feet of gain. Strenuous.
This was very similar in difficulty to Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains maybe slightly harder due to the route finding. This was a VERY primitive trail and VERY steep. When you are ascending 2000 feet over 1.6 miles you can very easily get off trail. It happened to me several times.
I also suggest wearing long pants due to the rock scrambling and bushwacking that is a given on this ‘trail’. I missed that memo. OOF…
I noticed every review of this hike I looked at generally said it took about 4 hours. I can do a non technical 4 mile hike with 22oo feet of climbing in 1-1.5 hours. This hike took me 3.5 hours! It was technical, steep and I had to stop many times to look for the trail.
PARKING, ROUTING AND GETTING TO PICKETPOST TRAIL:
Top Left: Picketpost Mountain from the entrance on FR 231 from US 60.
Top Right: Trailhead. Plenty of parking and toilets.
Bottom Left: The hike starts on the Arizona Trail, after about a half mile, there are some Cairns marking an unsigned trail (JCT 1L on the map) that crosses a wash and heads directly towards Picketpost Mountain. Make a left onto this Cairn marked trail (the stick on the cairn is where you make the left). After a hundred yards, this trail turns into an old jeep road that ends after about 0.1 miles at an old mine shaft- it is closed now but this is where Picketpost Trail begins. From there you climb 2000 feet along the ridgeline over 1.6 miles.
Bottom Right: There are dots and arrows along the way to guide you- but in all honesty they were sparce and I lost the trail several times. There trail splits all over the place- you really do need some trail scouting experience to navigate this climb.
TRAVERSING THE ASCENT:
Top Left: This shows the difference in terrain along the hike. It required hand over feet scrambling.
Top Right: This is about 3/4 of the way up the climb. I saw 2 other people the whole time I was up there. Solitude was a definite plus for this trail. With that being said- the difficulty plus being alone I took my sweet time on the descend.
Bottom Left: This is just as you get up the hardest part of the ascent about 150 feet below the prize at the summit.
Bottom Right: This is looking East as you continue to traverse on the top of the mountain. There is a fairly easy to follow trail from there to get to the top.
FROM THE TOP:
Once you do arrive at the top there is a bright red mailbox and lovely bench to welcome you!
Inside the mailbox are some offerings, a sign in book, and a little history about the mailbox inscribed on the silver plate you see in the bottom right photo.
The inscription says that was transplanted from Washington in 1994. The box was once run over by a John Deere tractor and a then by a 1978 Chevy. The owner of the mailbox put it up here with hopes that the mailbox will be safer on top of Picketpost Mountain!
VIEWS FROM THE TOP:
Really incredible views!!!
Top Photo: Looking Northwest at the Superstition Mountains – you can see Weaver’s Needle another gnarley bushwacking climb I did a few months ago!
Middle Photo: Looking East over the town of Superior Arizona
Bottom Photo: Looking South over a slew of desert trails and mountains
Now… the business of getting down. It was no joke- I took my time and really carefully mapped out my descent. It was sketchy. I kept calm and told myself often that I had all the time in the world to get down. This cut my anxiety down and allowed me to focus on the task at hand.
This is one of the reasons I am so addicted to the climb. When you have to put your entire focus on a task like this all the other problems in your life fall away. It really puts things into perspective for me.
This reminds me of one of my favorite mountaineering quotes of all time- written in one of my favorite books of all time- by one of my favorite mountaineers of all time:
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory”
-Ed Viesturs from No Shortcuts To The Top: Climbing The World’s 14 Highest Peaks
I will be remembering this often – my next trip report will be of Mount Kilimanjaro!
The information contained on this web site is not to be considered a guide, instead it is my report of the trails I have done so that you may have a general idea of what to expect on the hikes. I take no responsibility nor assume liability for inaccuracies, errors, omission, or incompleteness of any information.
You are responsible for using your judgment in interpreting and using this information to safely enjoy your own outdoor pursuits. Each trail has its own potential hazards, each needs to be evaluated for each person based on that person’s personal fitness level and other considerations.
Boy Scouts motto: Be Prepared!!