Picketpost Ride Report- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Picketpost Ride Report

    DON'T DO IT, it's a trap!! No seriously, I'm sure it is an awesome trail for some, but me thinks you'd better be in super shape and pretty skilled if you wanna ride this trail. I got a late start this morning, but went out and set off from the trailhead about 11. Had fair temps and a nice breeze the entire way, but riding that baby counterclockwise is a CHORE. I got 3 miles in and was still climbing some strenuous stuff. Not every bit is climbing but enough that it will wear you out. Part of the problem for me was that any downhill section was too short to recover and led, more often than not, into several severe switchbacks , sometimes double switchbacks, followed immediately by a stiff climb. Even some some of the less pronounced climbs led you into switchbacks waiting to bite you. There are sections that only the most skilled would even attempt to ride. There is a good deal of exposure to your right most of the way in and then switching to your left at around 2.5 miles or so.

    I realize I am not the most skilled rider around, probably low intermediate at best, but this is some seriously challenging riding. At no point can you just relax and just enjoy the flow. While we all enjoy a challenge as mountain bikers, to say that this was enjoyable would be a stretch. Part of my problem undoubtedly was, this was a new trail and I was by myself, and being ultra cautious, but at no time did I ride more than a half mile without dabbing OR WORSE. When I got home my legs looked as if someone had locked me in a phone booth with a wild cat.

    Perhaps it is somewhat easier coming around clockwise, as I did run into a couple heading in the opposite direction and they looked somewhat less bedraggled than I. To top it off, neither was wearing a helmet and each had only one 12 oz. soda bottle of water, nearly empty by the time they reached me. I honestly expected to find one of them prostrate on the trail as I headed back down. Amazingly, there was no sign of either, hope they made it out OK. Good luck to those of you who want to attempt this one!!

  2. #2
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    You just made this ride look more appealing to me, thanks!
    I'm here for the OT

  3. #3
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    It's an out-and-back, how would you possibly ride it clockwise or counterclockwise? It's a fantastic trail, but you really gotta get an early start and be more prepared. It's not some place I would ride alone.

  4. #4
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    Well, that's what I thought too Jag, but I swear I ran into a couple today that started somewhere at the opposite end. As for a fantastic trail, perhaps to some yes, but I was not ready for this challenge. I was prepared, but this trail is for very skilled riders, I believe.

  5. #5
    dirt visionary
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    It can be done as a loop . Trick is after you cross the first real wash with running water you contiune east to a fork take a right and that takes you out the way that has been listed before.

    At the end of the out and back you can continue down into the wash make a left following the horse tracks . This will lead you down a road for a bit then back onto some single track that heads right back to the first wash I talked of earlier.

    IMO this is a decent ride but all in all I won't be doing all too often as it just wasn't that great of a trail except for the views . I myself think it needed alot more chunk and alot more flow. I am by no means an expert rider but I had no issues getting my freeride rig up them hills. The only issue I had was the super duper tight switchbacks 3/4 of the way in . No way to manuver them without some trials skills or by wheeling up thru the corner.

    I will end with once at the end of the out ride I was bummed out that this was it? We hadn't even indulged in our food or extra drink yet either. I guess I was expecting something along the terms of the Hawes/pass mt loop. You know a hard long day in the pedals .
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
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  6. #6
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    Well Clockwork, I didn't realize there was a branch to be taken. I believe I know the wash you are speaking of, and I stayed on the clearly defined trail heading east or around the back of the mountain. It is not an impossible trail, but it is difficult and challenging, and like you, I felt it had NO FLOW at all going in. It was somewhat better coming back out, but one still has to be careful coming around corners with too much speed as there may be an unseen surprise (in some cases, a flying lesson) awaiting you. Seemed to be a lot of blind corners. Look gang, I've only been riding since Sept of last year, and maybe I just don't yet have miles and/or skills to tackle something like this. But I will say, this is far and away the toughest ride I have attempted. As I said, maybe because I was alone and being ultra-cautious, it affected my riding. There is no cell service and few passers-by, maybe I just didn't have it in my legs yesterday, but I found it a tough slog. Maybe with another year or two riding, I'll feel differently. More power to others who feel the need to punish themselves!

  7. #7
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    Based on my perception of it when I rode it and the fact that I'm no super hero, it does kind of sound like maybe you were being ultra-cautious and it affected your riding.

    Positive thing is though, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

    I bet you'll feel stronger and better when you go back to your usual trails.

  8. #8
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    no doubt about that ToneBone, anything else I've ridden is a walk in the park comparatively speaking. I will get better, and a year or two from now, this may be my idea of an casual ride. For now, all I can do is report my honest perception.

  9. #9
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    I do however; appreciate the earnest assessment of others and am perfectly willing to acknowledge I, and I alone, may have been in a little over my head, for whatever reason yesterday.

  10. #10
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    First bad words I've heard about this trail. But much like matt, I think you've further enticed me to go and check it out. I like painful slogs uphill for some reason. Kinda like going up 62 in Prescott. Not much fun, but good when you make it. I think with some more miles under you belt and a companion, the trail would be better for you. The posts from the fellas that have pedaled considerable miles and many adventures have spoken kindly about this ride. At least the views had to be good, eh?
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  11. #11
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    Dag Nabbit, that is the one thing I must give exemplary marks for. The views were absolutely breathtaking, from Picketpost Mtn towering over you in all it's glory, to reaching a certain point high up, glancing back and realizing you can see Weaver's Needle clear as a bell in the distance, perhaps 30 miles away. I do regret that I forgot to bring my camera along.

  12. #12
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    The views were great thats for sure.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  13. #13
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    the day we did it, was windy raining all day, then the temp droped another 20 deg and got hailed on with grape size hail. and it still was a fun ride, we washed off in the creek on the way out. good times amazing views!!!

  14. #14
    Need more cowbell
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter_dude
    But I will say, this is far and away the toughest ride I have attempted.

    What was the most difficult up to this ride? Just trying to get an apples to apples comparison....

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter_dude
    DON'T DO IT, it's a trap!! No seriously, I'm sure it is an awesome trail for some, but me thinks you'd better be in super shape and pretty skilled if you wanna ride this trail. I got a late start this morning, but went out and set off from the trailhead about 11.
    Take your time, enjoy the views. This trail is for intermediate-advanced riders but can be done by lower intermediates with some patience.

    The Ripsey Segment-White Canyon-Martinez-Picket Post of the Arizona Trail will be the best piece of trail in Arizona when it is completed. All we need is the White Canyon connector up to Silverbell Mine right now. Picket Post is just the beginning of the AZT goodness! Wait til you venture out to ride the other AZ trail segments in the area.

  16. #16
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    It is definitely a strenuous ride, but it is amazing! Gather your energy from your surroundings on this one, it is hard to not be stoked on this trail when you are riding and looking out on the vistas. Gotta get out and work those lungs and legs more, it will make it more enjoyable along with every other trail out there.

  17. #17
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    I really like this trail. For me it is alot about the great views and total lack of city. Yes, it does have alot of uphill deal with but for the most part the really technical challenges are far between so it is great to get the heart and lungs working. Plus you can always just stop, take a breather and enjoy the fantastic views that surround you. I did it again a couple of weeks ago and the flowers were getting going and the water was flowing. Plan to do it again before they are all gone. The way I have done it is heading south on the AZ trail from the trailhead, last time I noticed the trail heading north from the trailhead on the way out, anybody done that section? I want to do in next time and would appreciate any info.

  18. #18
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    I suppose Coachwhip, but the difference is Coachwhip is fairly straight and fairly short. It is a rocky grind, but it is finite and you can see in front of you. Some parts of Hawes can be pretty challenging, but the thing that makes Picketpost so tough for me, was there are no real sustained legs to recover, and it is just chock full of switchbacks, so even if you could pick momentum, you have to kill it off to make the switchback and then make repeated climbs from a crawl after the switchback. I honestly don't think I've ever ridden anything that remotely compares with PP.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter_dude
    I honestly don't think I've ever ridden anything that remotely compares with PP.
    Black Canyon Trail

  20. #20
    My other ride is your mom
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    I agree on the PP = BCT assessment.....they are twins in my book.




  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    I agree on the PP = BCT assessment.....they are twins in my book.
    Twins, I like it... but where is the river crossing on Picket Pin, and the slice of pie nearby?
    Aesthetically, if it's as good as BCT, which from what I've seen from the pics posted up... then I'm willing to pedal or, if need be, hike a bike up the hardships to take it all in for the Full Monty experience.

  22. #22
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    Here is one shot from our ride. More on request

    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  23. #23
    Tucson, AZ
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    Nice pic!

  24. #24
    dirt visionary
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    Here are some more pics. I thought I had a ride report thread but I guess I never put one together or can't find it .















    Yes I am all about safety.




    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  25. #25
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    I was going to do this last Saturday, but I let other things get in the way. I have to get back out there next weekend..

    As far as the comparison to BCT, it's a very similar type of trail, but BCT has been built up to a much better system. I don't know much/anything about trail advocacy but it would be awesome if we could get a real network built out there. IMO it's got all the potential to be another BCT type system. If anyone has any ideas, I'll gladly give what support I can.

  26. #26
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    Azt

    Quote Originally Posted by surfndav
    I don't know much/anything about trail advocacy but it would be awesome if we could get a real network built out there. IMO it's got all the potential to be another BCT type system. If anyone has any ideas, I'll gladly give what support I can.
    This trail is part of the Arizona Trail (http://www.aztrail.org/). You can help out by joining the ATA and/or volunteering. There is plenty of info on the website. When I was out at this trail a few month ago, they were still adding singletrack - so I expect it to keep getting better.

    Another way you ANYONE can help is to go here http://www.blazethetrail.com/greatoutdoors/vote/ and click on the Arizona Trail. These folks are giving a $50,000 grant to the project with the most votes. That should help build some new trail.
    All that is required is a click.

    I don't think many people really know what a gem we have in the AZT. I've only ridden a few parts of it, but those parts have been really impressive. I'm definitely going to check out more of it.

    --Jeff

  27. #27
    dirt visionary
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    Well made another trip out to ride picketpost on wed. Nice temps lots of hikers and lots of thorny overgrowth .Other than that there has been some trail maintance and the views were of course good.

    However riding this trail twice a year is good enough for me. There needs to be some other option out there. God knows there is plenty of good terrain for it .
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  28. #28
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    the last person i knew who rode that came back out looking like they lost a fight with a bobcat.

    has the cat claw been cut back enough to ride without loss of blood?
    i never thought i'd be 43 and living here......i kinda wanted to be a rockstar..." Mark Hendershot

  29. #29
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    It wasn't too bad I gpt only a few scrapes and some punctures on my arms. Legs were protected by my pads so never felt anything down there.

    On the other hand my riding buddy behind me only got tagged a couple times. I think cause I had all the claws in me lol
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  30. #30
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    This trail is awesome! After about 4-5 miles(??) the trail comes to a Y. I went to the right which I think is the part that turns in again to the AZ trail. It was awesome. You looked up and could see the trail cutting into the side of the mountain going up about 1,000 feet. I was with my wife and was short on time so I couldn't get up there, but will go back w/ a buddy and ride about 3 hrs out then turn around and come back. I love the off-cambered exposure. It makes you think. The switchbacks are nice too. Rideable if you have a few skills and a decent engine. I can't wait to go out there again. It will need to get a little cooler though. Definitely not a trail you want to ride alone. Too remote and no cell service. Can you say compound fracture waiting to happen?

    Chiva

  31. #31
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    Going left at the Y takes you in and out of the wash and then just disappears... I was there 3 weeks ago and it was cat claw city...

  32. #32
    dirt visionary
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    which one the first Y or second Y . The second one takes you around clockwise or go right to go counter clockwise. The first one goes up towards the base of picketpost
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  33. #33
    How much further ???
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter_dude
    I suppose Coachwhip, but the difference is Coachwhip is fairly straight and fairly short. It is a rocky grind, but it is finite and you can see in front of you. Some parts of Hawes can be pretty challenging, but the thing that makes Picketpost so tough for me, was there are no real sustained legs to recover, and it is just chock full of switchbacks, so even if you could pick momentum, you have to kill it off to make the switchback and then make repeated climbs from a crawl after the switchback. I honestly don't think I've ever ridden anything that remotely compares with PP.
    I understand where you are at. Im actually finding it hard to gauge a particular trails difficulty in AZ based off of other peoples reviews. I myself only started riding again in 2010 after a long break so Im no expert or even advanced. But Im finding that what I find difficult (riding up Windgate Pass) others find easy and classify as a moderate XC trail. On other occations people have refered to Pass Mt as being very difficult and technical, and while it is no piece of cake, Ive had no issues getting around the full loop. .
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  34. #34
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    Which Y

    Clockwork, I'm not sure which Y, but it was the first and only one I saw. That being said, when I took the Y to the right, I was at least 5 miles into the trail, maybe 6. Hope this helps.

    Chiva

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