I am so glad I wrote this trip report earlier as I don't think I could write it as excitedly now since this afternoon we rec'd tragic news and I am distraught. Sometimes it's hard to keep the eyes dry enough to see
. johnr1, I've been remembering...
this was scheduled as an arizonahikers.com GHOTM. I reviewed the route and details and trip reports on Friday and decided we should try kingsnake's route. Joe and Bruce also chose that route on one of their combos. All three said it was pretty cool and others commented on how yucky it was to hike along the 60.
So I loaded both routes onto Scout, we met at the TH and were hiking by 8:30. Good thing we started an hour earlier as it did get a bit toasty in some parts. This is certainly not a beautiful time of year for hiking as to beauty since you know what the potential can be but at least we could check out the route and maybe piecemeal the sections we'd like to come thru again.
We did the loop counterclockwise starting on the AZT for a couple miles. Picket Mill would be an option. Michelle joined us for the first few miles. There were a couple other hikers out and one very large group of bikers, somewhat spreadout on this part of the trail. And are you ready for this, one of them actually said he was pulling aside to get around us at an easier section. What? You're yielding to us
. Nonetheless, we waited for him to continue on while exclaiming how we'd never heard that before.
We took the initial turn off (about 2 1/4 mi) into the wash where we saw some cairns. The actual turn off for Picket Well wouldn't be for another 1/3rd mile or so. We persuaded Michelle to come with us and then she could turn back when we intersected back with the AZT. As wash hiking goes, this was quite nice
; nothing like those ornery Supes washes. We soon ended up back on the AZT at the actual intersection to the Picket Mill Well. We said goodbye to Michelle and then headed down the wash, and hung a left on the road to the Well. There is a bit of a hill there and then finally the corrals come into view. It is a very solid corral and both tanks (steel and dirt) had water, lots! It is here that we had our morning snack.
Heading back to the AZT we stayed in the wash; it's so much cooler than the road. The rocks in this area are pretty cool. We got to the AZT and headed up (east) it for another mile; seemed further than I thot we needed to go. On this section there were about 6 horseback riders that we let pass. The front rider was from BC. They were a friendly group. They would be doing our same loop as evidenced by the fresh horse droppings as we went down Telegraph Canyon. I assumed the turn off for that part of the hike would be obvious and it was.
Now we were heading ENE where we would eventually meet up with the 4WD road for a bit all the time Pickepost was looming high above us as we are now observing its south side. Eventually we would veer to the left (NE) and get into the canyon. This also involved some wash hiking but still relatively easy compared to you know... the Supes. I believe this drainage flows into Arnett Creek. Anyway, this was still continuing to be a nice hike.
About the 6.5 mile mark (or almost 5 miles not including the Picket Well) we came upon a large pond; so unexpected. We took some pictures as there were a couple nice reflections
. Ambika called time and we had our lunch here. In about 5 minutes, a brigade of horseback riders and some dogs went by. We figure at least 15 riders maybe more. I had my back to all the commotion but they would comment about our perfect lunch spot as they went by.
Next up was the 50 foot slope Kingsnake's trip report suggested we take. Well when you come out of the drainage/creek area, you have a choice to go right up the hill or left up the uncairned slope
. I checked out the right side (the hilly grassy flora area and there are two pink ribbons - someone had recently ribboned a lot of this route; we also saw older ribbons from time to time) and decided I'd rather take the bedrock figuring this is what Preston meant. I thot I could see a cairn so I zoomed in with my camera but I really couldn't tell for sure. Anyway, Ambika was making her way along the slope which is above and east of the drainage/creek. Soon we spotted some cairns and happily continued on our way, amazed at the view we had and glad we were up here rather than in the creek bed where we did spot a trail (and obviously there would need to be a trail for the horses to get thru and maybe the hillside is where the horses would need to go if the creek was full of water)
(Sometimes I am not the brightest bulb as when we got to another section that we had to fight thru a bit, it should have dawned on me that the horses wouldn't go that way so there had to be an easier way . Another navigation lesson learned).
This area has to be beautiful in the spring, summer and fall. It certainly wasn't prime season now and it was pretty cool-looking so imagine it all decked out. We saw the huge alcove ahead. It had a beautiful interior. We admired the very tall and large sycamores stretching above the rest of the trees in the creek bed. We got a kick out of the different shaped rocks and such as well. That section was lots of fun
. And then it was back down to the drainage/creek bed where we soon came to Arnett Creek and a fenced area. Just before that though, we noticed a lot of oleanders in the creek bed. You could still see water in there too. These oleanders were huge and probably lasted for nearly two tenths of a mile. Oh, and at this corner section (before you head west), there is a really cool monolith to your right (east); you can't miss it.
And then it was time for the gate opening lesson as most of these gates (I think we encountered three more) were very taut. Many of you may know this but if not: When a gate is hard to open, you need to put your shoulder against (into) the post that you are trying to move and grab the stationary post to pull your shoulder to. This can be difficult depending on your size and where the barbed wire is wrapped but you can usually maneuver yourself somehow... The shoulder just gives you so much more leverage. And as you know it's not so hard opening the gate but closing. Also, when closing the gate, you need to get that the bottom circle wire to come up as high as you can on the bottom of the post you are trying to re-close.
At this point we are in Arnett Creek bed where surprisingly, there is still a lot of water; at least we think it's a lot for this time of year and considering no rainfall. This area must really be something when it's all leafed out. We continue WNW up the creek until we come to the crossing where there is a bit of a rock/branch barrier on the ground.
I believe it is here where you head north and hook up with Perlite Road. However, we were going to continue up the creek. I think we should have crossed the creek here and THEN headed up it but instead we headed up right away and had to fight our way a bit through the tree branches and such. Eventually we crossed the creek to where there seemed to be a bit of trail which would make sense of course as the horses would have had a hard time getting thru the area we had just hiked.
We continued up the creek where sometimes there was water sometimes there wasn't. To your right, north, there are cool rock formations to enjoy. The area does open up a tad and opens wider and wider the further west you get. Eventually you can see the rock outcroppings below Picketpost and can barely see the top of Picketpost. We crossed upon another fence and eventually we could see the pointy rocks that are above the western side of the Arboretum's High Trail.
Next it was the dam area which is pretty cool and then the hike up to the tank and then up to the saddle. You pass through some of the burn area just after the tank (which is fenced). Once you're at the saddle you're treated to some really cool views too. And from here, it's home free. We did pass through an area that had piles of Blackfoot daisies.
We finished off our day with pumpkin spice beer, watermelon, and spinach/artichoke dip with Ruffles. And now Tonto Junior has completed its first trip to a Trailhead and is fully dusted out and a little dirty on the inside. That only took 5 days . Back in the day, all that dust and dirt on and in a new vehicle would have bothered me... now, not so much.
Yep, this is a great hike and you don't have to work hard really; can't beat that! And yes, of course, I have lots of video since it's a new hike. Granted it's during off season but got to get it on the books:
Video 1 from the TH to Picket Mill Well and up the wash http://youtu.be/sySSse6JC3o
Video 2 from the Well wash into Telegraph Canyon http://youtu.be/nvUoKT6tkWA
Video 3 continuing Telegraph Canyon http://youtu.be/Lv5CarAJm64
Video 4 Telegraph Canyon and starting up Arnett Creek http://youtu.be/8LAIHBWvavU
Video 5 Arnett Creek and canyon http://youtu.be/T_Xq_MItBmQ
Video 6 last part of Arnett Creek/Canyon past dam and tank to Trailhead http://youtu.be/ENkGY0tKumQ