October 14, 2023

Picketpost: Around the Mountain

 The AZTR was rapidly approaching. Friends were arriving to get heat acclimated from all over. My friend, Thomas, was in from Switzerland, back in AZ for the second time this year after riding the Queen's Ransom in the spring. He enjoyed it so much, he vowed to come back for the AZT800. The Strempke's were also in town, camping over by Picketpost. I had a package of theirs, Katie's new fork that she'd need for the ride. Might as well hand deliver them and go for a ride.

I picked up Thomas on my way and met up with Andrew and Katie near the trailhead. We planned on a loop around Picketpost Mtn. taking the most direct path, not necessarily the most rideable path!!

I remembered to bring a pair of eclipse viewing glasses as the annular eclipse started while we got ready to roll.

Heading out towards Picketpost trailhead.

Katie dropping into Arnett Canyon.

The views never cease down here.

Thomas enjoying his time in the desert.

Katie practicing her catclaw avoidance technique.

Andrew cruising on the singlespeed. If you need bikepacking bags, check out his brand: Dispersed Bikepacking

Spectacular riding in Arnett Canyon.

Some remnants from the Telegraph Fire. Photo by Thomas.

Into the muted light we go. Photo by Thomas.

Towering rock formations and giant Cholla. Photo by Thomas.

Since Andrew & Katie hadn't been up this side canyon, we made the out-n-back spin. Yours truly near the top. Photo by Thomas.

Time to head back down.

It's worth the detour if you haven't been.

Photo by Katie.
We rejoined the main trail and continued east for a bit. We took the first split to the south on the Telegraph Canyon trail, not to be confused with Telegraph Canyon Rd. I warned the others about the high probability of not only hike-a-bike, but route finding and bike carrying!! The trail didn't disappoint. It starts off with some rideable technical bits, then gets progressively worse...
Tight boulder squeeze here.

We passed some hikers earlier who warned us of the trail conditions, but I'll have to admit I was surprised to see horses back here. We had a heck of a time crawling through the overgrowth to reach this point.

Into the jungle they go!! The spring was flowing, hence all the vegetation.
Shortly after passing the horses, the area opens up a bit and we joined Telegraph Canyon Rd. We were only on that for maybe a mile or less. There's a side trail that connects to the AZT at its earliest junction.

Katie disappears down the trail. Weaver's Needle on the horizon.

Can you find all 3 riders?

All downhill from here!! Photo by Katie.

Andrew crushing the singlespeed. Photo by Thomas.

Not to be outdone, Katie loaded up her bikepacking gear in preparation for the impending AZT800 in a few days...singlespeed style. Photo by Thomas.

I'm just cruising with gears. :) Photo by Thomas.

Thomas was stoked to have some riding pals!!

Final bit into the trailhead.

It was great to get another ride in with Thomas. Perhaps one day, he can give me a tour around Switzerland.

There is water by the windmill outside of the trailhead. FYI.
If you want to do a loop around Picketpost without the headache of the Telegraph Canyon trail, stay on the Arnett Canyon trail heading east. You'll connect to Telegraph Canyon Rd. farther down that where we popped out. It's still rugged, but a bit more rideable.


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