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Picketpost Perimeter Day Hike
October 17, 2021
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 
Trailblazers before Picketpost Mountain.
Micheal, Paul, Tom, Tamar, Li, Robert

Six spontaneous Trailblazers made a last minute plan to see the impact of fire in Arnett and Telegraph Canyons, and met and drove to the Picketpost Trailhead. We started counterclockwise in order to get the sunny part of the hike out of the way in the cooler morning hours.

A raging torrent?  Not today.
I could stay here forever.
In the deep woods.

Over a mile in, Michael stopped in his tracks, noticing a multicolored rattlesnake tail jutting out onto the trail. After a few moments of observation, it was apparent that this snake had no interest in moving along, so we went up above him or her and back down on the other side, hoping an inadvertent slip of the feet wouldn’t send us directly on top of the snake.

With 6 hikers past the snake and back on the trail, we continued on, barely missing stepping on a good sized tarantula. We took a short photo break at the intersection with the Arizona Trail heading south and continued on the now nicely marked Perimeter Trail. At this point, we were in and out of a wash and with big rocks and stacks of debris everywhere due to post-fire flooding and we weren’t sure whether we were actually still on trail.

Rattlesnake crossing the trail.
That’s a branch, not a snake.
How long is this canyon?

Since most of us had done this loop many times and under many different conditions (high water, no water, post fire etc), we continued onward, pretty sure we were going the right way. This portion of the trail in Telegraph canyon was covered with dense plant growth and required some improvisation, until we reached obvious trail near the junction with the road up to the Apache Tears mine.

We continued on the Arnett Canyon portion, seeing a small amount of the usually lush vegetation and a little flowing water until we began to see more evidence of the Telegraph Fire’s devastation. Even within burned bushes, we saw some hopeful little yellow flowers growing. Entire hillsides were filled with char.

Little yellow flowers cheer us.
Entire hillsides were filled with char.
On the home stretch.

We ended the hike with the newish Legends of Superior Trail (LOST) portion, which was very overgrown with grass and prickly things. Every step included a little hope that there wasn’t another snake below hidden in the brush. Eventually we reached the mostly empty trailhead, had some celebratory cold beverages and went on our ways back to the 90 degree Valley.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated October 19, 2021