On March 27, 2013, I said farewell to my Alaskan home for a little while and flew down to Phoenix to begin a Grand Enchantment Trail thru-hike. The 730-mile trail winds its way from Phoenix to Albuquerque through some amazing desert, river canyons, and sky islands.
It was a fantastic hike. The Grand Enchantment Trail is more consistently scenic than the Arizona Trail. Enough of the route was cross country travel to give me time to build confidence in my navigation skills. I saw a TON of wildlife: 1 Gila monster, 4 rattlesnakes, 1 black bear, wild boar, elk, pronghorns and a cow or two. It was such a great route and I can't say enough good things about it. It was the perfect tune-up for my Brooks Range hike.