2020-04-03 Picketpost Trailhead
Picket Post Loop Trail is 8.6 miles, quite heavily used and is near Superior, Arizona. We rode some additional loops as you will see by the maps below, so our total mileage for the day was 11.6 miles. The 800 mile Arizona Trail is accessed from this point, as well.
This trailhead has a vault toilet and a camp host. I’m not sure if you can camp there overnight, but due to the COVID-19 shut down currently you can’t even drive all the way to the actual trailhead. However there’s plenty of parking in an area just short of the trailhead, for both horse trailers and hikers’ vehicles. The trails are wide open and very conducive to maintaining proper social distancing.
The trails themselves are mostly easy and well marked, with the occasional rocky elevation change that is a bit more challenging. Your horse should be shod or booted. When in Arnett Canyon the trail follows and crosses many times the creek of the same name. At this time of year, having had more than the usual amount of rain this winter, there was clear flowing water at every crossing. There’s plenty of evidence of much higher flows during the rainy season, and my companion Joan Bartz told me that the trail gets clogged and washed out every spring. This trail is not passable during those times of flooding.
At the far end of our trek is a historic spot where the ruts from wagon wheels are still visible, cut so deeply in the late 1800’s from the enormously heavily laden silver ore, 12-mule-team wagons.
The contrast of the lush greenery of the flora along the creek, against the background of stark desert landscape of huge cliff faces and saguaro cactus was more than a little awe inspiring. Many fat cattle grazed along the banks with chubby little calves staring at us curiously. There is enough foot and horseback traffic through here that the mamas weren’t particularly concerned, quite the contrast to the huge, wild cows grazing on forest service permits in the remote areas of Klamath County, south central Oregon.
We rode past the abandoned mine, shown in the pictures below, and stopped to pick up some very small Apache Tears. They are rounded bits of obsidian that you can see through when held up to the light. According to Wikipedia; “The name “Apache tear” comes from a legend of the Apache tribe: about 75 Apaches and the US Cavalry fought on a mountain overlooking what is now Superior, Arizona, in the 1870s. Facing defeat, the outnumbered Apache warriors rode their horses off the mountain to their deaths rather than be killed. The wives and families of the warriors cried when they heard of the tragedy; their tears turned into stone upon hitting the ground.
For a pdf brochure on the area, LOST, Legends of Superior Trails, click here.
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