If you haven’t already read my post on the AZT page, check it out here for an overview.
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So, I’m hiking the Arizona Trail (AZT) beginning late September 2018, finishing early-mid November 2018. The hike should take me 40-50 days. The schedule is aggressive and will mean hiking average 20 mile days, but I think I can do it.
The AZT stretches 800 miles from the Utah border to the Mexican border – if you’re hiking southbound (sobo), which I am. The AZT is an official “National Scenic Trail” like the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Appalachian Trail (AT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT), etc. That means it has a little extra trail cred. It’s pretty well established, a bunch of folks have hiked it, there are great communities along the way that expect to see and accommodate hikers. And hopefully there will be some other hikers along the way.
Along the trail I expect to encounter a handful of other hikers, plenty of desert landscapes, the occasional rattlesnake and javelina, lots of heat and mid-day sunshine, cool night temps, ups and downs, maybe some rain and/or hail, cowponds to drink out of, the Grand Canyon (I’ve never hiked into it!), Flagstaff (I’m excited to see this lil’ city), Tucson (and Kofron family!), cacti, locust trees, expansive vistas, beautiful mountains, adventure, and solitude.
As of this post, I leave for the trail in 1 1/2 weeks. Yikes, the time has really crept up on me! I’m mostly thinking about food, scooping dried bits of food into ziplock bags, and stressing out. (Ahh, do I really leave so soon?!) I just sent myself my first food drop today, which will be plenty of time (as long it is going to the right place, haha…).
Our basement looks like a bunker for a disorganized prepper – dehydrated food scattered about in semi-organized heaps. I’m hoarding food from a few organic sources, Amazon, and the grocery store and combining them into hopefully tasty meals. I’ll then box up meals and other things I need (like toilet paper, baby wipes, and CBD oil) and send the boxes to myself (with Jared’s help most likely) at 6 spots along the way. At the northern terminus I’ll carry enough food for 100 miles, until the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From there I will resupply and carry enough food for 120 days, until Flagstaff. Repeat.
I plan to reach out to trail angels (who generously provide their contact info on the AZT website) to see if they can help me with cacheing water. Fingers crossed. The goal is to have plenty of clean water so that I either don’t have to carry too much at any given time (water weighs 2.2 lbs per liter. it. is. heavy.) and have access to as much good quality water free of dead rodents or animal poo as possible.
I still have many more things to do in preparation – like: book a shuttle to the trail start, procure a Garmin In-reach, figure our precisely what I’m taking, download plenty of audio books and podcasts, etc – but I have solid footing, I’m physically prepared as much as I can be at this point, and I’m sure it’s gonna be great. Just remember, it’s one foot in front of the other…
What have I done to prepare thus far? I suppose my prep can be broken down into the following categories: physical, mental, strategy, gear, and food. If I can manage to find enough riveting things to say about each of these things, I’ll make a few more blog posts before I hit the trail.
If there’s anything you’re curious about, please ask! I’d be happy to answer any question or even blog about something that may be of interest.