My boss approved my 2 months vacation, so now it is official : I am hiking The Arizona Trail.
What is the Arizona Trail?
The Arizona Trail is a national trail that runes from the border of Mexico to Utah.
It starts at the Coronado National Memorial near the US–Mexico border and moves north through parts of the Huachuca (I love that name) the Grand Canyon and other beautiful parts of Arizona.
Length: About 800miles/1287km (depending on who you ask).
Hightest point: 9,600 ft (2,900 m)
Click the image for larger view.
Planning The Arizona Trail
I am in the early stages of planning, but I will be Hiking the Arizona Trail from March 22. to around May 1st.
Starting the research for a long distance hike is a little scary, as it seems like you have no idea where to begin.
People always say to start at the beginning, which sounds very logical, but for some reason I always tend to find the most difficult part of the planning process and do that first.
In this case – The Arizona Trail – the biggest “problem” seems to be how to get back to civilisation from the end of The Arizona Trail.
The northern terminus is located basically in the middle of nowhere, with no public transportation, so it’s either getting a hitch to a nearby town (Page or Kanab) and then figuring out how to get home from there.
My first thought was to get a shuttle out to St. George and then getting a bus from there to Las Vegas, but that costs around $180 which is just too expensive for me, considering that I also need to take a plane from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for my next hike. (TGO Challenge, but I will make another post about that)
So I spent a whole evening trying to figure out what other options I had, that wouldn’t be too expensive, but still fairly easy.
The easiest would just to get a ride from the terminus to Phoenix and get a plane from there to Los Angeles, but I don’t think it will be cheap or easy to hitch that far. So I started to look a busses.
From Kanab or Page, it seems like there is a Shuttle/Bus (NationalParkExpress) going to Las Vegas (it’s the same bus that stops in both towns) so that is probably what I end up doing – and the positive thing about that is that IF I manage to get a hitch, it doesn’t matter if I go to either place 🙂 that sounds like the best plan for me – and its pretty cheap (bus is about $45)
So I think I got that sorted out. Now I just need to get in contact with a Trail Angel in Tuscon and see if anyone is willing to drive me to the Southern Terminus on the morning when I am hiking the Arizona Trail.
I bought the plane tickets to Tuscon, and from Los Angeles to Glasgow and I booked a hotel in Tuscon. I land in Tuscon on March 20th which gives me a full day to stock up on food, get my AT&T simcard sorted out, and whatever small things I need to do before going out on the trail on the 22nd.
Why I am hiking the Arizona Trail
There isn’t any specific reason why I chose the Arizona Trail for this years hike. But after completing my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike I was so in love with the US and the kindness of strangers on the trail community, that I wanted more of that 🙂 The CDT and AT were not possible this year, as I didn’t have enough money saved up for another huge adventure (and I am not sure my boss would be happy if I already asked for another 5 months of leave).
So I opted for a shorter hike that would fit inside my normal vacation time – give or take.
In Denmark we have 5 weeks paid vacation (some even have 6) so I started looking for a hike that would fit in that timeframe.
Colorado trail and the Arizona Trail were some of the first ones I stumbled upon, and knowing that I would eventually do the CDT, I would be on most of the Colorado Trail anyway (not sure if all of the trail is on the CDT).
So I chose the Arizona Trail – easy choice 🙂 I didn’t even look for another trail as it looks and sounds amazing!
I know there are a ton of amazing trails closer to home as well, but at the moment The US still have some magic left, and I am not done being amazed by it.
The Gear that I am bringing
BUT I can’t help myself, so I treated myself to a new Quilt (yes I know, blasphemy considering my outbursts on the PCT about quilts).
Before heading out on Kungsleden (King’s Way) I bought a quilt from Western Mountaineering – The AstraLite and it was actually amazing! and extremely lightweight (17.5oz / 496g).
But I am “worried” that a 26°F bag (-3°C) isn’t going to keep me warm in Arizona and Scotland (yes yes I will do another post about the TGO Challenge) so I opted for another, warmer quilt – UGQ XL-Bandit 10°F (-12°C). Hopefully it will arrive in time for me to bring it on the trip, otherwise I will have to use my Western Mountaineering AlpinLite (20°F / -6°C) which served me pretty well on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike.
I also had to get new shoes again – the shoes I used on my Kungsleden (King’s Way) are about to be done for, so I am just using them for my training hikes.
The shoes I chose, again, are the Altra Lone Peak 4.0, they were good to me on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike and on Kungsleden (King’s Way) so I don’t want to risk anything by trying new shoes.
But if I need to buy a new pair near the end of the Arizona Trail, I will probably go for the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 instead.
I am also bringing a Garmin Inreach Mini instead of my Spot device. A HUGE part of Oregon there were no signal on the Spot device (and yes I had it turned on) so I will not trust that anymore (and the Garmin Inreach Mini just looks cooler anyways 😉 )
I also got a new watch, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar. Reason for that is not that I am not happy with my Suunto Core, I really just wanted a watch with a step counter(pedometer), Altitude, Barometer and Compas, and looking at smartwatches I realised that battery life is still really bad – I do not want to have to charge my watch every night, when I already have my camera and my phone to “worry” about.
The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar, can hold battery in “smartwatch” mode for about 21 days, which means that if I remember to charge it when I am in a town, I will probably never run out of battery.
Videos and pictures
As I learned on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike doing videos and taking pictures for Instagram is a pain and extremely time consuming, so I WILL be shooting video and taking a ton of pictures, but the video will be edited when I get back home as it is just SO much work and it really disrupts my adventure when I constantly have to find time to edit video on the trail or on my zero days.
Pictures will be posted on my Instagram as often as possible, I really don’t know how the cell service is on the trail, but whenever possible I will post pictures!
And when the video is ready it will of course be posted on my Youtube channel.
If I have any readers that has done the AZT, I am more than open for suggestions and ideas!