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 …

How to Successfully Thru-Hike the Arizona Trail

Exploding Meteor over Coconino Rim

The Arizona Trail (AZT) is a rugged, challenging 800+ mile thru-hike that stretches from the border of Mexico to the border of Utah, and is riddled with challenges such as extreme heat, freezing temperatures, snow, blowing sand, lack of water, consistent elevation change, and many stinging and poisonous critters. It also traverses through some of Arizona’s most spectacular landscapes that …

Day 34: Pine to Washington Park

Forest Below Sandstone Cliffs

After a long but very enjoyable zero day in Pine, I was ecstatic to be back on the trail. The weather felt great and everything throughout the day felt phenomenal. Noah and I both woke up surprised to find frost on each of our tents. We were relieved we had taken the extra precaution of stashing our Sawyer water filters …

Day 32: LF Ranch to Pine

East Verde River and Riparian Trees

It was Pine or bust. I needed to go 25 miles since I didn’t have enough food to camp for another night. On top of that, it’d be mostly uphill onto large open mesas. And then there were the thunderstorms that were predicted for the day. To be safe, I was hoping to be up and over Hardscrabble Mesa before …

Day 31: Brush Springs to LF Ranch

Stormy Cloud over Oak-Lined Mountains

A six mile day is an easy day. A six mile day on half of a liter of water is a bit more challenging. I got camp packed up as more storm clouds began to consume the clear morning sky. I wasn’t too keen on backtracking up the trail for water, even if it was a short distance, so I …

Day 30: Chilson Camp to Brush Springs

Lifting Fog in Desert Mountains

A 20 mile day would put me at LF Ranch a day early, and it would also reduce the newfound stress around my food supply. While I added in a few extra things since I knew I’d want to eat more, I neglected to factor in that I’d also want to eat more often, in addition to more in general. …

Day 29: Thicket Spring to Chilson Camp

Horseshoe Lake in Desert Valley

When I first moved to Phoenix late in 2004, I was still very new to photography. I was also very new to the southwest. I was eager to explore the area, but in seeing everything with completely fresh eyes, I wasn’t making much progress beyond the city limits. That was when I connected with another photography enthusiast who offered to …

Day 28: Sunflower to Thicket Spring

Oak Forest Covering Mountains

Happy feet are high maintenance. Just when I thought I had them all figured out, I now discover that they’re not getting enough air to dry out properly. This has caused the muscles to become quite sore, making hiking once again a bit difficult. Fortunately it’s only on one foot, and I also know what to do about it. Airing …

Day 26: Eastern Four Peaks to Northern Four Peaks

The Four Peaks

Clean socks equals happy feet. Happy feet makes for happy hiking. That was my problem last night. My socks had gotten pretty dirty. Fortunately, despite climbing up the backside of the Four Peaks, I was still able to crank out a nearly 20 mile day thanks to my happy feet. I started hiking after doing my morning routine and the …