Fall SOBO and covid

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nuckoles
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Fall SOBO and covid

Post by nuckoles » Jul 30 2020 9:40 pm

I am planning a fall SOBO hike starting in late sept and know there has been some discussion among the greater trail community about the ethics of through hiking during this pandemic. I was curious what the conversation has been among the AZT community.
My plans include extra resupply boxes, avoiding the cities and large towns, not hitchhiking or staying in hostels and taking my mask and hand sani. Baasically, I'm trying to limit my contact with communities to the grocery store, post office and water refills.
If anyone has any further suggestions or insight into how covid has been impacting the trail that would be much appreciated!
thank you!

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friendofThundergod
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by friendofThundergod » Jul 31 2020 7:06 am

@nuckoles You are 100 percent fine, sounds like you have taken all the precautions. Those gateways communities along the trail see an influx of people every weekend from the 5th largest city in the U.S. Thru hikers pose zero risk to those communities. Outside is the best spot you can be during this thing. Don’t let any of the arm chair quarterbacks sitting at home tell you otherwise. Have fun, be safe!

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by wildwesthikes » Jul 31 2020 8:03 am

FYI:
https://thetrek.co/arizona-trail-associ ... ref=slider

Edit: If it were me I'd not waste time worrying about the virus; statewide covid numbers have nothing to do with an isolated long trail. Your plan is pretty solid to me.

The closure areas are of significant concern. Especially Four Peaks; I can think of no other viable re-route except to walk down a very long and sketchy stretch of Hwy 87 which I believe is illegal to walk along the shoulder. The Santa Catalina & North Rim burn areas you would have an easier time dealing with.
Last edited by wildwesthikes on Aug 01 2020 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CannondaleKid
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by CannondaleKid » Jul 31 2020 8:39 am

@wildwesthikes
Thanks for the link...
wrote:The Arizona Trail Association is discouraging both thru-hikes and thru-rides on the Arizona Trail for the remainder of 2020.
wrote:... more than 125 miles of the trail are closed and are not expected to be safe to hike or ride again until 2021.
wrote:Under normal circumstances, the ATA would help facilitate shuttles around closed segments of trail. However, asking volunteers, community members or commercial shuttle services to transport groups of people during the pandemic violates the ATA’s COVID-19 safety protocols. Hitchhiking, while legal in Arizona, also presents unnecessary risks to both trail user and driver due to the possibility of disease transmission while in a vehicle together.
While I do agree backpacking/hiking.biking is of a very low risk for COVID-19, the fire(and border)-closed areas as well as the possible risks over and above the normal trail injury issues, I believe the ATA is stating valid issues worth noting.

@friendofThundergod
Would you not agree the Arizona Trail Association is not an arm-chair quarterback?
Last edited by CannondaleKid on Jul 31 2020 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by friendofThundergod » Jul 31 2020 8:44 am

@wildwesthikes Who is Zach the blogger? I mean I know he has given himself a lot of titles and accolades in his bio, so he is good at walking I assume? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume he is not an AZ resident. The OP was asking for local perspective, not the opinion of some random blogger. I find it hard to believe that Zach has much of a grasp of the Arizona outdoor community considering he used a picture from Sedona for his blog about the AZT. Which passage is that Zach? lol

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by wildwesthikes » Jul 31 2020 8:45 am

@CannondaleKid
The ATA does not have a panel of public health experts in their ranks as far as I am aware; though I cannot know for sure. But I'm gonna go with 'no' on that one.
The valid argument for postponing a hike is the closure areas, which ATA can claim authoritative expert guidance on and I agree with them on that point.

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by wildwesthikes » Jul 31 2020 8:46 am

@friendofThundergod

"Zach the blogger."

Exactly.

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friendofThundergod
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by friendofThundergod » Jul 31 2020 8:48 am

@CannondaleKid lol and who is the AZT Trail association? lol They don’t own the land the trail utilizes. They have zero legal authority. The federal government has opened the forest. The local and state governments have lifted stay at home orders. So the opinion of the AZT people is they don’t want people hiking the trail this year. Great opinion noted, hike on Nuckoles.

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by wildwesthikes » Jul 31 2020 9:00 am

@friendofThundergod
Just to make sure there's no confusion on this, I agree with you.

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CannondaleKid
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by CannondaleKid » Jul 31 2020 9:05 am

@wildwesthikes
I agree with you on both your statement on "no public health experts" as well the valid argument for postponing a through hike.

I very likely wouldn't give "Zach the blogger" any special credibility, but in this case (thanks for the link 'cuz I don't do FB) I was informed of the official stance of the ATA.

@friendofThundergod ... pretty much agree with your characterization of the ATA but I do believe it is worth noting they aren't wrong in their reasoning.

Just an FYI... we were hiking AZT #28 over the last few days so I am NOT against hiking during this time at all, just saying being forewarned is not a bad thing.
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by friendofThundergod » Jul 31 2020 9:19 am

@CannondaleKid
@wildwesthikes

Well the AZT certainly brings up a few noteworthy points, but my point to OP is there are no ethical issues with thru hiking that trail right now. I believe in the science behind the pandemic, but I don’t always buy the panic that has been spoon fed to us since March. Across this nation Covid has become the new rallying cry of the pretentious, “locals only” crowds that are already taking steps to make our public lands less accessible to us and “their” mountain towns more exclusive. Cool you got a million dollar cabin in the woods, but the land around you is public and if the feds, local and state govs say it’s ok to recreate in them, then I encourage everyone to utilize those lands in an ethical manner.....to include hiking the AZT..

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nonot
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by nonot » Jul 31 2020 12:15 pm

OP,

You should be aware that a full thru hike will be difficult, seeing as there are AZT passages through the four peaks wilderness that are closed to travel, likely for a year or more. Due to the geography and location I am not aware of any legally walkable roads to get around the closure of those passages, as walking along the highway shoulder is illegal to my knowledge.

I am not quite sure regarding details of closures of AZT passages in the areas near Tucson due to those forest fires, as I am less familiar with those passages, but I suspect there are also some closures there. Probably check the ATA website for the latest details.

Until these passages are reopened from the forest fire closures, it may be worthwhile to consider to plan for only a partial AZT thru-hike in the upcoming year, or if you are intent to do the entire thru-hike, to personally arrange/prepare a means of travelling around the closed trails. If you go in unprepared I suspect you will have some real trouble in dealing with the closures.
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nuckoles
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by nuckoles » Aug 12 2020 12:02 pm

Thank you all for the feedback. For those who are interested, I am working on the North Kaibab now and from what I can gather the AZT should be open again on Sept 18th. Definitely double check that though! The Pine Hollow fire may have changed things. Cheers!

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rmartin
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by rmartin » Aug 12 2020 12:32 pm

It's going to be ugly through March.

The Bush Fire area (including Sections 20, 21) is closed through March 15, 2021 by the Tonto NFS. https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tonto/al ... ?aid=60538
The Bighorn Fire area (including Sections 10-12) is closed through November 1, 2020 by the Coronado NFS. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 766893.pdf

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friendofThundergod
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Re: Fall SOBO and covid

Post by friendofThundergod » Aug 12 2020 2:27 pm

Might be a good year for the GET :)

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