This hiking season is shaping up nicely. We’re making the best of unemployment/having to move out of our house by starting our hike a little early. And since California is finally getting an average snow year, pushing our PCT start to late April, we find ourselves with two extra months free.
So: in March and April, we will be hiking the Arizona Trail!
The Arizona Trail (AZT) is an 800-mile trail running north-south across the state:
Starting at the U.S.-Mexico border, the path climbs and descends from one “sky island” mountain range to another, gaining and losing thousands of feet in elevation and traversing biomes ranging from desert to boreal forest. Continuing across the Sonoran Desert, the route crosses the Gila River, winds through the Superstition Mountains and the Mazatzal Wilderness on its way to the Mogollon Rim and majestic San Francisco Peaks. The trail north takes travelers across the Grand Canyon through billions of years of geology. Topping out on the North Rim, conifer forests dominate the Kaibab Plateau, eventually giving way to red bluffs dotted with sagebrush as the trail nears the Utah border on the edge of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. It is the backbone of Arizona.
Sky islands! Sonoran Desert! Gila River! Superstition Mountains, San Francisco Peaks! And perhaps best of all: this trail climbs down through the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon!
Here’s what’s up: we get to hike 800 miles through various shapes of the American Southwest, then we scoot over to San Diego and start our 2,600 mile PCT journey/honeymoon/vacation.
We are up to our eyeballs in dehydrated rice and beans, dried fruit, nuts, and everything else we want to eat during our hike. In our spare time, we scour trail journals and update our gear list. Breaking a 10b base weight was the highlight of last week. Last minute gear purchases are on their way and we are putting the finishing touches on our resupply list for both trails. We’re full steam ahead. Because we’ve got 800 more miles of trail and 8 less weeks of prep time!