Before I get to this week’s blog post, I want to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted (and then voted some more) for Copper & Cacti in the Arizona Foothills Best Of Our Valley contest. While we didn’t win, we took second place and that is something I am proud of and thankful for. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart–I appreciate your support!
This week, I’m talking about hiking PicketPost Trail near Superior/Globe, AZ. It’s basically right next to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, which I’ve also talked about previously. We figure we can’t just talk about opting outside, so last Friday instead of hitting up the stores, we still got up super early and hit up the Picketpost Mountain Summit trail. I am so glad we discovered this trail online and changed plans because our original plan was to re-do a hike we’ve done before. This hike took us about 3 hours, 20 minutes or so. This includes time to stop and take some photos but does not include the 20 or so minutes we spent at the top.
This hike starts out along a portion of the Arizona Trail and you’ll run into a sign indicating that you should veer off onto the Picketpost Trail. There are also rocks on the ground forming an arrow towards the PicketPost Trail, so you’ll know you’re veering off in the right direction. You’ll start your serious elevation gain pretty much right about here. Yep- this hike’s got quite the elevation gain. Here’s my Garmin Vivoactive profile of the hike (Note: I forgot to start the tracker at the trailhead so this starts a little bit in to the hike):
You’ll mosey along a well-marked path until you reach a handful of very large boulders that you’ll have to scramble up. There will be a bit of an obvious trail but it’s pretty much hit or miss from here on out. You absolutely should pay attention if you continue on so as not to get off trail. From the number of comments I’ve read online about Picketpost in addition to a handful of folks we met along the trail, it’s super easy to go off trail and wind up having to figure out your way to the top. While most are placed well, some of the cairns are off the trail (maybe for those wanting to rock climb?) so it’s maybe not the best to rely solely on those. While it’s illegal to deface the rocks/wilderness…someone has marked rocks with pink dots and blue arrows. At one point, the pink dots turn into a faint white dot. You should follow these in conjunction with the cairns, especially when you get to the point that you are pretty much just scrambling upwards. A trail exists, you just have to be a little more attentive. For some more technical details (when to go, reviews, etc… visit hikearizona.com)
Once you make your way to the top, you will be stunned at the 360 views you can take in. They are truly beautiful. Each way you looked provided a different perspective. I was in awe of the mountains that appeared to be rolling on and on. There was a slice of water you could see, though I’m not sure what it was (maybe part of the Gila River?)
Of course, after you take a few minutes to breathe and site-see, your attention turns to the well-known little once-red mailbox perched on top. The lid is kept closed with a caribiner and upon opening it, a whole host of treasures await. I’m not into the geocaching thing, but it appeared to be a geocache site. I’m not going to say what was in there so as to leave it a surprise, but it was pretty cool.
Now, let’s talk about the bench. The heavy, iron bench. How on earth did that thing get up there?! I imagine these 3 burly men the size of The Hulk taking turns carrying this thing on their back and jumping from rock to rock until they reach the top. But, seriously, how did it get there? It’s cool that it’s there and placed in a spot to really take in a good sunrise. But, I’m perplexed at how it got there. It seems like it’d have been easier to haul the metal up there and weld it together at the top. Speaking of… the seat is missing a couple of rungs…so if anyone wants to haul more metal up there and weld some more rungs to it, I’m sure those wanting to sit on the bench side by side would be appreciative. Or, just sit on some nearby rocks in the meantime.
Once you’ve taken in your views and captured some photos of the mailbox (don’t forget photos of the views!), you can head back down. If you came up the wrong way, now’s your chance to stay on the trail and hike it down easier than when you came up. If you went up the trail on the way up…well, follow the same path back down.
We went early in the morning and there were only a handful of people hiking up at the same time (one hiking down already). On our way down, the trail was starting to get pretty busy. Keep your head up, look for the trail markers, and go find the
mailbox stunning views! Have a great weekend and happy hiking!