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 16: Lower Oracle Ridge to Tiger Mine Trail

Lower Oracle Ridge

The day started off chilly with a colorful sunrise off to both the east and west, but I had very little time to stop and enjoy it. I was being picked up from the Tiger Mine Trailhead at 11am. That left me needing to hike about 11 miles in just over four hours. I downed the last liter and a …

Day 15: Summerhaven to Lower Oracle Ridge

Tucson at Twilight

I love having the freedom and the flexibility to camp early, waiting for the sun to set in anticipation of earth’s shadow rising together with a full moon. Though it wasn’t as cold as I expected it this morning, it was still pretty chilly. The breeze was even chillier. Being down in a canyon, it’d be a while before the …

Day 14: Wilderness of Rocks to Summerhaven

Granite Boulders and Outcroppings

Sometimes you just need a break from the trail. In truth, I didn’t, but my knee did. I actually got a bit antsy sitting around Summerhaven and was eager to get back on the trail. I woke up right around sunrise, giving my knee a good long rest. I popped out of my tent as some great golden light was …

Day 13: Sycamore Creek to Wilderness of Rocks

Camping in the Wilderness of Rocks

Today was one of the best days of the trip. It was also one of the most disastrous. Put simply, "adventure is out there!" From my campsite, I had a short walk up to a small crest of a saddle where a view of epic proportions opened up in front, and below me. An immense canyon that reminded me of …

Day 12: Redington Road to Sycamore Creek

Sycamore Canyon

Near this time last year, I was driving down from Summerhaven on the Santa Catalina Highway having just picked up the mail drop I sent there for my thru-hike, only to have abandoned it a couple of hours earlier. Near the base of the highway, heading out of the mountains in the Molino Basin, I saw two other thru-hikers carrying …

Day 11: Grass Shack Campground to Reddington Road

Large Desert View

Something definitely changed today. My body feels like it’s starting to adapt to life on the trail. I woke up to a surprisingly pleasant morning. I had expected that at the elevation of the Grass Shack Campground that it’d be a bit chillier, but the air was pleasant and the area felt perfectly cozy. This kept from getting as early …

Day 8: Mulberry Canyon to I-10 (nearly)

Rincon Mountains Above the Arizona Trail

I woke up this morning to see a bunny rabbit bouncing around the imaginary perimeter of my campsite. I felt very refreshed after a good night’s rest and was ready to have a mellow day. I started off down the trail after packing up camp, following it down and ultimately out of the grassland hills and into the Las Cienegas …

Day 7: Northern Foothills to Mulberry Canyon

Sunrise over Arizona Deserts

So much for my relaxing day. While the day itself wasn’t bad at all, I wound up going much farther than anticipated. I was shooting for about 15 miles or so today, but as soon as I was ready to start looking for camp, there was nothing to be found. I wound up going nearly 18 miles as a result …

Day 6: Santa Rita Mountains to Northern Foothills

Sunrise on Mount Wrightston

Last night I heard something I haven’t heard in a while: crickets. I don’t remember hearing them at all in the Canelo Hills which would signify a horrible breakdown in the ecosystem. Nonetheless, they were a welcome addition to the environment as I watched the stars come out. This morning I woke up noticing it had gotten a little chillier …

Day 5: Patagonia to Temporal Gulch

Mount Wrightson Above Foothills

Overall, I slept pretty well at my stay at the Stage Stop Inn. I can’t say enough great things about this hotel though. Gerry is a huge help and seems genuinely happy to help out thru-hikers. If you’re planning on doing theĀ AZT, make sure a night there is in your budget. It’ll make a lot of things a lot easier. …

Day 4: Canelo Hills West to Patagonia

Dawn over Canelo Hills

I’m currently sitting outside my hotel room overlooking Patagonia, Arizona where I’m doing my best to get my electronics charged up. I fortunately packed my camera battery charger into my bounce box, so I should be good there, and I also threw in two extra AA batteries for the GPS so that should hopefully have enough juice till Colossal Cave …

Day 3: Canelo Hills East to Canelo Hills West

Moon in Twilight Sunset

Last night I slept great tucked away in my sleeping bag. At the lower elevations now, it wasn’t too cold and there was a faint but pleasant breeze so I even left the rain fly off to have the stars out above. I woke up at dawn this morning and was able to enjoy coyotes howling both near and far …

Day 2: Miller Peak Wilderness to Canelo Hills East

Snow in Sky Islands

Today I got a late start because I was completely unprepared for the cold outside my tent. I procrastinated doing much other than just staying huddled in my sleeping bag. Finally the sun began to hit my campground and I was ready to start moving after a long and tiring night, kept awake by the cold and consistently strong winds. …

Day 1: Mexico to Miller Peak Wilderness

Sunset from the Huachucas

Today went a little longer than expected and now I’m camping amongst some snow that’s still hanging on from a storm that dropped several inches in the higher Huachuca Mountains the previous night. There’s a wind that’s fortunately not coming too low below the pine trees rising far above me, but it’s still probably gonna get below freezing tonight, if …