I hung out and talked to the hosts when I arrived, talking about my plans for the next two days. The trail guide suggested that the really nice viewpoints on the trail were about 15 miles south of Picketpost Trailhead. I figured I'd head out with the full pack, hike around 15 miles and set up camp to sight see and take pictures. Then, I'd hike back in the next day. The hosts were REALLY helpful, in that there were no viable camp spots 15 miles out. My best bet would be to set up camp at mile 12, just past the gate, and backtrack the extra 3 miles without the full pack. GOOD TO KNOW!!
The toughest part of this section of trail was the lack of natural water sources, followed by the HEAT! It would be a hot, dry trudge. I filled up with 3 liters of water before hitting the trail.
Hiking south from Picketpost, the trail meandered around the west side of Picketpost Mountain, a spectacular looking sight that dominated the view for miles. It's kind of a strange looking, flat topped mountain, but spectacular nonetheless. It was a quite a sight.
Eight miles into the hike, I came to a life-saver for the hikers on this trail: Forrest Road 4. Rugged, steep, and uneven, FR 4 is impassible unless you have a high-clearance 4WD or an ATV. But just off FR 4, where it meets the Arizona Trail, is a resupply box. Kind trail angels come out in their high clearance trucks and ATVs and restock the box with gallons and gallons of water. A couple people even left their cell numbers, encouraging hikers to text if they were in trouble and needed an emergency ride into town. Forrest Road 4 was the perfect place to stop, eat something, and top off my water bottles.
After a steep climb out of the valley, the trail wound around a ridge and then joined a dirt road that lead up to a gate. This was the gate the trailhead hosts had been talking about. I scouted around for a while and decided that the best camping spot was about .1 miles past the gate, up a hill, on the top of a small crest. The dirt road had clearly not been used in several years- it was in a state of complete disrepair- but was also clearly popular with equestrians. ( I had to choose my tent site carefully, away from horse bombs!) Later, I would realize how great this tent site was, when the sun set and the stars came out.
I once again stopped at FR4 for a little rest and water. This time, I only took about a half liter of water. Generally, when looking at reliable water sources, I strive to have about a half liter left when I hit the next source. Especially when dealing with caches. I try not to hog the water at water caches, knowing that a lot of people will becoming after me and will be relying on that water.
Today, rather than having a half liter left when I reached Picketpost, I instead ran out of water a half mile away. Still, I'm chalking that one up to perfect planning. I can easily walk a half mile without water. Running out 6 miles away, however, may have posed a problem.
After this great section, I ate some wonderful Mexican food in Superior, and then headed back to put the jeep back in storage. It was time to get back into thru-hiker mode and hit the Superstition Mountains like a champ!