How to Train for the Arizona Trail

Mesquite Trees Below Rocky Hill

Rule #1: Do not start the trail without any training. The Arizona Trail thru-hike will test you in ways you never anticipated, so your physical condition should be the least of your worries. Without proper training, you will succumb to injuries, as well as the possibility of not reaching water sources or food quickly enough. It’s important to get that …

Day 43: Cinder Cones to Babbitt Ranch

Arizona Trail Sign on Dirt Road

There’s a section of the Arizona Trail that’s become infamous for its lengthy dirt road walking. It’s through this stretch that water is scarce and interesting features even less so. Having not looked much into that particular area, and with few photos of it, I didn’t really know what to expect when I got there. Would it be 50 miles …

Day 42: Snow Bowl Road to Somewhere Amongst Cinder Cones

Bismark Lake Below San Francisco Peaks

Every now and then, I feel as though a thru-hiker deserves to feel a little sluggish and grumpy, the former causing the latter. Such was the case this morning after Gizmo and I had a fantastic breakfast by trail angel Hannah. I suppose though that this was just the culmination of the last few days of not really being all …

Day 41: I-40 to Snow Bowl Road

Thru-Hiker at Schultz Tank

There’s definitely been a different mood about the trail that I’ve been feeling, and I don’t like it. I can’t tell if I’ve just grown tired of the monotony of the forest, or if I’ve just let myself become preoccupied with overly distracting thoughts, but I’m simply not feeling the enthusiasm of the more mountainous sections, and I want that …

Day 40: Flagstaff to Somewhere Between Walnut Canyon and I-40

Sunset over San Francisco Peaks

Yesterday I took a zero day as planned. Cydney had her first hostel experience and then we went for breakfast at the highly recommended MartAnne’s, and it exceeded expectations. We made a run down to Phoenix where I was able to make a few adjustments, such as bringing my hiking poles back onto the trail, before heading back up to …

Day 39: Upper Lake Mary to Flagstaff

Snowy Peaks and Forest

I had reached the point where I was hoping to see something that would break up the pleasant monotony of the forests. Though the hiking was easier and the days cooler, I missed the grand views and overlooks that invited a needed rest for weary feet. Due to the mid-20s low, I wound up sleeping in a bit later than …

Day 38: Mormon Lake to Upper Lake Mary

Elk Below San Francisco Peaks

I heard it as I was falling asleep last night in the Mormon Lake Campground. Hundreds of tiny little collisions on my rain fly as if someone were constantly throwing a bunch of feathers at my tent. It was snowing, and I could feel a bit of it sneaking into my tent and hitting my face. Of course that’s why …

Day 37: Somewhere on the Rim to Mormon Lake

Tree Stumps in Pond

After such an uneventful day yesterday (which is still an awesome day on the AZT), today brought a little action back onto the trail, also partly because I still can’t seem to bring enough food on the trail. There was a much chillier wind this morning that persisted throughout the day, much of which was spent in what is the …

Day 36: Blue Ridge to Somewhere on the Rim

Pine Forest Overlook

Even an uneventful day on the Arizona Trail is still an incredible day by any standards. There were no critters in the meadow this morning as I had hoped. It was pretty, but nothing to keep me from moving ahead. Heading down the trail it was an extremely pleasant morning with cool air and late golden light filtering through the …

Day 35: Washington Park to Blue Ridge

East Clear Creek and Rocky Bed

While zeroing in Pine, several of us were having a great social hangout at Sidewinder’s where E Bunny and Sweep both mentioned the merits of slowing down and not being in such a rush to finish the trail, something I’ve always preached about hiking in general. And yet, on the AZT, I’ve found it difficult to take my own advice. …