After spending a year in the Arctic (the latter half of which involved temperatures down to 70 below and two months of darkness), a little walk in the southwest sounded like just the ticket. The Arizona Trail caught my eye. It is an 800-mile trail which starts at the Mexican border and heads north crossing the entire state of Arizona and terminating at the Utah border. I decided to go for it and flew down to Tucson, hitched a ride to the southern terminus, and began to walk north. Arizona's spring sun saved my soul.
I began hiking early in the morning on February 23rd. Southern Arizona greeted me with fantastic weather, jackrabbits, wild boar, coyotes and a botanical garden's worth of plant life.
There is not much thru-hiker traffic on the Arizona Trail in early March, so I was very lucky to run into a fellow hiker who called himself GQ on the second day of the trip. We became quick friends and after a "snowpocalypse" - a two-foot snowstorm which made travel by snowshoe necessary - we ended up hiking the rest of the trail together.
The highlight of the Arizona Trail was hiking through the Grand Canyon. On the south rim, we met another thru-hiker, Jeremy, and our party grew!
The three of us made it to the Utah border, the northern terminus of the trail, a few days later. It seemed cruel that the trail should finish right after the Grand Canyon! Just as my enthusiasm for the southwest was at its peak and all I wanted was more red rock, more canyons, and more adventure. But the Hayduke and the Grand Enchantment Trail are still out there.
In the meantime, we consoled ourselves with a trip to the wave.
Enjoy pictures from the AZT below!