Hike the AZT
In 2012, the first season to hike the completed AZT, I met only a few other hikers - Fireweed, Eric, PapaBear, Swami, Theopholis & Theodora, Zigzagger. I saw a few other names in trail registers. Some of them made it to the end, others didn't this time. Are there others that hiked it this year?
It's a great trail from A to Z
I did the AZT as my first thru-hike this spring, 2012, from Mexico to Utah in 43 days that included 10 days of zeros due to weather and injuries. About 800 miles of desert, cactus, ponderosa, snow, wind, heat, and lots more. The changes in environment as you go from south to north and up and down over the weeks is lots of fun - really!
The main challenge for me was ensuring adequate water. I researched it, planned for it, and handled it. I cached 1 gallon of water by Cedar Ranch but the rest was wild water, some water I'd never imagined I would be drinking but it filtered just fine.
This trail isn't like 2000 miles of stifling forest, nor is it a barren desert. I believe it would be impossible to find so many varying environments in a shorter trail.
I found the trail easy to follow with adequate markers and tread nearly the entire route. The Grand Canyon traverse was most excellent. The difference between the prickly, pokey, scratchy south and the open, flat forested north was spectacular - divided by the massive Mogollon Rim by Pine. It's no where near as social as the PCT and AT, but I hope more folks take to this trail and its challenges, and make it more popular.
If you want to hear more, you can see my journal, photos, map, and such at http://hikingdude.com/trail-azt.php
The start of the trail is trashy, more often than not unsafe and down right sketchy. Thankfully a CWP is fairly easy to obtain in Arizona, but I would never approach the AZT as solo hiking material.
However, the landscape is ****ing amazing, you go through what seems like 10 different landscapes before the end. I think the best portions are just above Flag and near the GCNP. the wildlife up there is amazing, and when there isn't a fire ban its fairly easy to find fire pits to use.
Haven't hiked the whole of it yet, but the parts I have were memorable to say the least. Look forward to reading of your experience.
I found the southern terminus at the Mexico border to Patagonia to be VERY clean. Word I heard was that ATA volunteers hauled literally TONS of trash out last year. And, there were border patrol vehicles and personnel out in force. I didn't feel uneasy at all, but maybe ignorance is bliss in this case.
Hmm. What a difference a year makes, I guess. I remember tons of trash.
I did intend to do it at some point while we were there, but I got sick of Arizona. It's nice to know some effort is being made to improve it.
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