Looks like the road construction on 60 is finally finished. They were collecting barricades that day. Deciding against a nice, safe, leisurely stroll through the arboretum, I chose instead to try to kill myself on Picketpost Mountain. At the trailhead, take the unmarked trail on the left. The one on the right is marked "Arizona Trail". The first mile of this hike was quite easy and the trail is very clear. After that, I would suggest turning around. OK, I'm kidding (sort of). This is where the terrain changes from a steady slope to nearly straight up. Climbing up was difficult and challenging, but in a fun way, I thought. Trying to get back down was mostly terrifying. But, I am getting ahead of myself.
On the climb up, you need to always keep the next marker or cairn in sight because it's easy to wander off since the trail doesn't really look much like a trail. If you go off the route, you will quickly find yourself at a dead end or in a very precarious situation (I should define 'precarious'). Occasionally, I had to stop for several minutes to scan the landscape for a marker as they are often quite subtle and scarce, but there are enough of them to keep you on track. Reaching the mailbox was kind of a thrill. Some idiot crammed a big empty Gatoraid bottle and some other trash in there, which I took out with me. I have a hard time imagining the mentality that went into that. The summit isn't very interesting to look at, better for looking 'out' from. It's really a shame that the air pollution has rendered the entire valley invisible now from any of the area peaks.
I didn't spend much time up there patting myself on the back because the heavy dread of the trip back down was harshing my buzz, so to speak. Picketpost Mountain seems to be made up entirely of crumbling rock covered with loose dirt and gravel. Compared to this, I think the Flatiron is a piece of cake. At least the ground wasn't always breaking away from under your feet. As Grasshopper mentioned in his trip report, you might as well leave the trekking poles at home. There is very little call for them as you will spend much of the time on all fours hugging the ground...especially coming down. It took me so long, I won't even say (but my photos include both a sunrise and sunset view of the mountain). I kissed my truck when I finally found it. I had parked a mile away from the trailhead (don't ask).
Never saw another person the whole day and no vehicles at the trailhead. No wildlife, either, not even a lizard...nothing. Maybe I crossed over to a parallel universe where the only lifeform is a wasp (see below).
Note: There were plenty of yellow jackets out there. Even though I should have been fairly uninteresting to them (no perfume or scent, tan clothing, no food items or sugared drinks), they deliberately harrassed me the entire day. I got stung twice. Something to think about if you're allergic.