Day One on the AZT
Posted on: Monday May 30, 2022 AZT Hiking
I’m late. The sun is already a hot ball low on the horizon as we drive to the trailhead, and we shield our eyes from the burning rays with our fingers. It’s April 10th, later than you should really start the Arizona Trail. Some hikers are already reaching the northern terminus, postholing through snow, dreaming of the heat I’ll be hiding from in just a few short hours.
AZT: Shake'nBake's injury
Posted on: Friday June 3, 2022 Hiking AZT
We may be sheltered on our little switchback, but the wind tosses the trees and howls through the canyon all night. I barely sleep: oh well. What’s a single bad night of sleep on such a long trail?
AZT: All of the Trail Magic
Posted on: Monday June 6, 2022 AZT Hiking
Seconds after saying goodbye to Shake’nBake, I see my first Saguaro. Tall and green, these cacti look like cartoons, with waving arms. A western stereotype, they only grow in a small part of Arizona. Today I’ll hike to the border of Saguaro National Park through entire forests of cacti.
AZT: Mount Lemmon to Superior
Posted on: Friday June 10, 2022 AZT Hiking
It’s amazing how one simple encounter can change my day so completely. The trail transforms into a magical place. I skip along the ridgetop, climbing effortlessly, admiring the saguaro. Finally, elevation gain offers me a view, mountaintops rolling into the distance.
AZT: Superior to Pine
Posted on: Monday June 13, 2022 AZT Hiking
The pines here feel different. I’ve hiked through them before, but only on mountain peaks. Now, they’re here to stay. Everything is greener, shaded, and carpeted in needles. The trail suddenly feels friendlier, softer, more welcoming. I’m leaving the harsh realities of the desert behind.
AZT: Pine to Flagstaff
Posted on: Sunday June 19, 2022 AZT Hiking
The pines start to bleed together. There’s not much to mark the passing of the miles, just endless rough bark, raised into contour lines around reddish trunks, and soft needles. I’ve dreamed of this for so long: gentle shade and easy miles. But now I’m bored.
AZT: Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon
Posted on: Tuesday June 21, 2022 Hiking AZT
I leave Flagstaff after a nearo and a zero. It feels like a lot of town time, and I’m ready for the quiet woods by the time I grab one final coffee and head out. The trail winds through the suburbs, and trail runners and bikers dodge around me as I walk.
AZT: Grand Canyon to Utah
Posted on: Thursday June 23, 2022 AZT Hiking
We’re up at four. It’s still midnight dark, the stars bright overhead. We hike by headlamp as blackness turns to shades of gray. We reach the rim five seconds before the sun crests, spilling light over the canyon. We stand in awe, watching the shadows flee. We follow the rim to the trailhead, dodging tourists, as golden light runs over golden rock.