Well, I usually try to break these posts up into smaller pieces, but I haven’t had signal or wifi or time, so I’m gonna do my best to keep this 300 mile post brief.
Holy cow, WOWZA, the Arizona Trail is a banger. Nonstop jaw dropping views. Pristine trail. Fascinating plant life. Dazzling displays of color at dawn and dusk. Millions of wildflowers.
From desert floor to alpine forest, the AZT truly has it all. Let me show you…
The AZT begins near the tiny town of Sierra Vista. We had a kind trail angel that took our group to the trailhead (thanks Dar!!). From the parking lot, we hiked 2 miles southbound to tap the monument at the Mexico / USA border.
Day 1. From the border, the AZT begins with an immediate demanding push nearly 3000 ft up Miller’s Peak. We managed 23 miles through sand and snow with about 4500ft of elevation gain on day 1.
Day 2. We pushed 29.8 miles through the tiny town of Patagonia. We resupplied and hiked out avoiding a town vortex.
Day 3. 23.8 Miles. This day included a bunch of ridge walking and a super steep climb. We were all feeling pretty sore, so we decided to keep the day short by our standards.
Day 4 began with a stellar sunrise that took our breath away. We hiked 26.5 miles past innumerable prickly pear cacti setting ourselves up for a nero the next day to give our weary bodies a little rest.
Day 5. We took a much needed nero in Tucson doing mostly nothing. It was glorious.
Day 6. We got an earlier start from our day off and headed toward Mt Mica in Saguaro National Park. We would’ve liked to hike further than 19.9 miles, but the national park requires permits to camp within its boundaries. We skipped the permits, camped at the park boundary, and decided to hike the 17 miles through the park the following day.
Day 7. We woke very early (as per usual) to begin a big day which included 5000 feet from the desert floor to the alpine forest on top of Mount Micah. National Park trails always seem to be flawless. We were in awe hiking through countless saguaro cacti and reaching the peak with towering pine trees. We managed 28.9 miles.
Day 8. As if day 7 wasn’t challenging enough, day 8 brought even more elevation gain and at a steeper grade. We spent the day climbing while the sun barreled down on us. I truly experienced some of the steepest climbing I’ve ever done. We were proud of our 28.4 miles and celebrated by sleeping in the bathrooms on top of Mount Lemmon.
Day 9. We strided 13.5 miles down Mt Lemmon towards the tiny town of Oracle dreaming of a shower and hotel for the night. We made a call on the way down only to find out the hotel was booked. The owner, Marnee, was still unbelievably kind to us and offered us a ride to and from the trailhead, rides to resupply, and even showers. After a couple hours in town, we returned to the trailhead and completed a 20 mile day.
Day 10. Leaving Oracle, the next nearly 100 miles were across the desert floor with little elevation change. We set our sites on a 30 mile day, ending at a trailhead where a rumored trail angel would be. After seeing multiple rattlesnakes throughout the day, we were excited to see Sequoia’s trailer fully stocked with beer, water, and soda. As evening approached, he offered to cook us a delicious vegan spaghetti dinner. We were so grateful for this oasis in the desert.
Day 11. From Freeman road trailhead, we pushed 31.6 miles across more desert floor. We saw countless wildflowers, an unnerving amount of rattlesnakes, 2 Gila monsters (!!), and even a Sonoran tortoise in the middle of the trail.
Day 12. We crushed 34.2 miles into the town of Superior. After about 13 miles, we entered a stunning canyon with views that blew my mind around every corner. This was probably my favorite day on trail so far.
Woohoo we survived our first 12 days and 300 out of 800 miles. We’re feeling only slightly worn, but mostly enthused, delighted by this incredible trail. What a dream to be hiking with such a killer group of individuals crushing miles, reveling in their glory, blessed, blissed, and eternally grateful. How we manage to pull it off always astounds us. Here’s to the next 500 miles that we’re told gets … better? (Um..how??)
We are Bekah and Sean (Micro and Bigfoot), currently hiking the Arizona Trail with our friends Ashlynn (Hyrobics @ashybarne) and Grant (Gusha @plantgrant) pictured above with a new friend, Hiker Joe. We are all triple crowners and all vegan (!!) and have declared the name #FKTeam. Follow here or on Instagram.