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 …

Essential Gear for the Arizona Trail

Northern Arizona Cinder Cones

Now that I’ve finally finished adding photos from the Arizona Trail to my website, I can now focus on other tasks. One such task is this blog post, a list of gear that I found invaluable and/or highly useful on the trail. Note that some links may be affiliate links, but I was not approached by any company to write …

Table Mountain Hike

South Fork of Cascade Canyon

Distance: 6.8 miles Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Summer, early Fall Last hiked: 2016 October The end of the Table Mountain Hike is what many people refer to as, "The best view in the Tetons." After finally getting around to hiking this extraordinary trail, I can now say, the statement holds up. Along the way are beautiful canyon views …

Alaska Basin via Devil’s Stairs Loop

Alaska Basin and Buck Mountain

Distance: 17.4 miles (round trip) Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous Best time of year: Summer, early Fall Last hiked: 2016 July The Alaska Basin is rapidly becoming a go to place for people wanting to escape the crowds in the Teton Mountains. Tucked away in the middle of the range, it attracts adventurous tourists from the Wyoming side, as well as mountain enthusiasts …

Amphitheater Lake

Amphitheater Lake

Distance: 5 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Summer, early Fall Last hiked: 2015 October The Amphitheater Lake Trail is the most challenging of the three most popular hikes in the Tetons. While many casual hikers will check out Inspiration Point and Taggart Lake, experienced hikers don’t mind the 3,000 foot elevation gain to a spectacular alpine …

Day 51: North of the Grand Canyon to Jacob Lake (again)

Spruce Trees over Arizona Trail

I thought I was ready for today, but the weather once again threw me a major curveball that would require some pretty amazing trail magic to overcome. I knew today would be rough. The forecast had called for a lot of rain pretty much all day, so when I woke up to snow showers, I wasn’t terribly surprised. I assumed …

Day 50: Jacob Lake to North of Grand Canyon National Park

Rainbow over East Rim Viewpoint

The plan was to hitchhike back to where I left the trail and pick up where I left off. This wound up being much more difficult than I expected it to be, or even than it needed to be. I was up early and well rested and so I said farewell to Josh before heading out on the closed highway …

Day 49: Grand Canyon North Rim to Jacob Lake

Aspen Grove in Snow Storm

My plan for this last remaining stretch of the Arizona Trail was to take it slow and easy. There was one 20 mile day in there, but with hardly any elevation gain anywhere for the remainder of the trail, it would be pretty easy. Except I forgot to account for weather, so today went way off plan. I was up …

Day 47: Grand Canyon South Rim to Phantom Ranch

O'Neill Butte

Though putting last night’s plan into action this morning was technically successful, there were a few glitches. First, the only reason getting up at 4am was a better option than sleeping in was because the hole(s) in my sleeping pad are still eluding me. As a result, getting up seemed like it’d be better than waking up on a hard …

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 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 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. …