AZT thru hike in March 2018

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rkroeger
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AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by rkroeger » Dec 19 2017 5:44 pm

Well I am committing. I've decided to hike the AZT this March. I'm gonna go NOBO, but I have yet to identify an exact date. It'll probably be the last week of March, I'm thinking. The most daunting task I am not looking forward to is figuring out resupply and water. I just got all the maps today, so planning begins this week!

Any thoughts, recommendations, complaints, adages, or friends are welcome.

- Ryland

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Sredfield
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by Sredfield » Dec 19 2017 9:17 pm

Use the topo maps, data book, resupply information and water sources page to plan out your daily hike distances on a spreadsheet. You won't likey hike it that way but you will know a whole lot about the trail. You cannot over prepare.
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rkroeger
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by rkroeger » Dec 20 2017 9:37 am

Thanks for the advice. I just signed up for the Trail Association so I can get the data book. Now I just have to make sure to physically train... I just did 15 miles two days ago with a 25 lb pack, and the last few miles hurt more than I had hoped.

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AndrewAZ
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by AndrewAZ » Dec 22 2017 4:34 pm

+1 to what Sredfield said.

I went NOBO in 2013 and started mid-March. I had the capacity to carry 7 liters of water and rarely left a water source with less than 4 liters. 6 was the most I actually carried, and that was to make it from the water source to a dry camp a few miles later. I based my hike planning around the most reliable water sources so that it was never a disaster when a questionable source was dry (and then it was a bonus when they weren't).

I erred on the side of carrying too much water. I usually had 0.5 to 1 liters of water when I got to the next source, and only ran 100% out of water a few times. I've read journals of people who did just fine while being far more cavalier about water than me. I was more comfortable carrying the extra weight than risking running out and having a water source be dry. This also meant I could pass up some of the super awful sources and be okay (Beehive Well being the prime example).

Here's a link to the trailjournal that I wrote about it. The final entry is a list of info it would've been helpful to know beforehand. Some of it is now out of date since a lot changes in 5 years, but it's still a good start.

As far as thoughts/adages... there were some really, really rough days on the trail. I had blisters on blisters for the first 300 miles, I was carrying too much weight for my frameless pack, I lost a lot of weight that I didn't have to lose, and sections of the trail were clearly designed by a raging sadist. No matter how bad it got, I asked myself, "Would I rather be working?" Every single time, the answer was "[expletive deleted] no!"

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by rcorfman » Dec 22 2017 8:00 pm

AndrewAZ wrote:Every single time, the answer was "[expletive deleted] no!"
Here on HAZ, that should just read, "pumpkin no!"
Go find a LonelyCache

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by rcorfman » Dec 22 2017 8:01 pm

@rkroeger
Good luck with your hike!
Go find a LonelyCache

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rkroeger
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by rkroeger » Dec 23 2017 8:12 am

Thank you, Andrew! And thank you @ rcorfman.

Andrew, I am gonna use your blog to help plan. And I am sure I will have questions for you! So I hope you don't mind me messaging you.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by AndrewAZ » Dec 29 2017 8:13 pm

@rkroeger

Not at all, I'm happy to help.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by Sredfield » Dec 29 2017 9:01 pm

7. Oracle Market has since closed.
8. A lot of work has been done in Oracle State Park, and a steward group has done a lot just north of American Flag.
10. The maintenance yard at Kelvin has spigots out thru the fence, available 24/7. Call the Pizza place in Kearny for delivery service!
11. Wilderness notwithstanding, the actual Passage 16 is pretty awesome and has just been reworked.
14. Many recent improvements and maintenance on Boulder Creek.
22. The bypass around Flagstaff is outstanding and crosses the highway less than half a mile from a mall and Safeway. If you use a cab you can get downtown for whatever nightlife you crave.

Many more water sources have been “discovered” and documented since 2013. The databook and water source link and the Guthook App are excellent resources.
Shawn
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by FireFly » Jan 08 2018 8:08 am

Like Sredfield said, it is a good idea to make a plan beforehand in a spreadsheet, even though you are likely to deviate from it.

For my thru-hike in 2017 I spent quite a lot of time preparing the hike in a spreadsheet and to my surprise I didn't deviate from it very much at all because the plan worked out very well.

The main concern will be watersources, so I planned around relatively reliable watersources as listed in the water report. When on the trail you can get regular updates of the status on the app, so definitely get the app!

The second biggest concern was food resupply. I'm from outside the USA so I cannot cache and have nobody locally to support me. I used zerodayresupply.com which is basically a webshop that sells food and post it to a postoffice or other places like for example Roosevelt Marina. So every time I hit a trailtown I would pick up the package at the postoffice and then look for a place with wifi (I don't have a phone that works in the USA) to place an order online for the next package (usually about 1 week later). This worked very well! But in your plan you have take into account the opening days/times of the postoffice! (and in my case: availability of wifi)

2017 was a year with lots of water but I still aimed at the most reliable sources. Unlike most hikers I'm not obsessed with the weight of my pack and I always carried lots of water. I've not used (public) caches. On average probably carried about 6 liters but I have carried up to 10 liters. Usually I had lots of water left when I reached the next watersource. I remember filling a few 2 liter Platypus bottles in the mountains before Summerhaven and one of them was still untouched until I flushed it through Sandy's sink in Apache Junction 10 days later! :D (meaning that on that stretch I never had less than 2 liter left over at the next source). At the end of the AZT I was very comfortable with dry camping, even if I didn't have to.

I have spent only 2 days off-trail (Apache Junction and Flagstaff) because of invitations from awesome trail-angels. Apart from that I always went straight back on the trail after resupply, because for me it was all about the wilderness experience. My pace was deliberately slow to have lots of time to take in the scenery and wildlife. But I had time reserved for sick days should they occur. My home flight had already been booked and I didn't want to jeopardise the completion of my thru-hike should I get ill for a few days. Fortunately I didn't get sick or injured so I could spend all that spare time around Grand Canyon! I spent 3 days on South Rim, 2 days inside the Canyon and another 2 days on North Rim. That felt like some kind of holiday and the scenery is awesome! But I must say I was also very happy when I finally left the crowds behind for the last 75 miles of real AZT wilderness!

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by maxmax161 » Jan 08 2018 8:33 am

@FireFly
My dude when did you do your thru hike? I'm currently planning one for June-Aug as thats the only time I can get off work. I am mildly concerned that it might be a bit warm though.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by FireFly » Jan 08 2018 8:38 am

maxmax161 wrote:
Jan 08 2018 8:33 am
@FireFly
My dude when did you do your thru hike? I'm currently planning one for June-Aug as thats the only time I can get off work. I am mildly concerned that it might be a bit warm though.
My thru-hike was 19 March - 24 May 2017
I think June-Aug would not be a good time. Hot and in the middel of the monsoon, as I understand it. But I'm sure a few AZ residents can chime in here...

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by maxmax161 » Jan 08 2018 8:45 am

@FireFly
You're right, I have just checked the average rainfall and July/August roughly half the days are raining.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by Sredfield » Jan 08 2018 7:16 pm

@maxmax161
"Don't worry about the summer rains up north, you'll not likely survive the summer desert heat to get that far."

Ok, enough gallows humor, but honestly/seriously, don't try hiking accross the AZ desert in the summer. It would be quite dangerous; it certainly won't be enjoyable and quite possibly will be deadly.
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 08 2018 7:23 pm

@Sredfield
I'd need spreadsheet lessons...
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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by rkroeger » Jan 09 2018 3:06 pm

The concept of the spreadsheet seems intimidating. I am just planning section by section using a word document, and by actually writing on the maps I will be taking with me. I am banking on that being enough.

Changing subjects- does anyone have recommendations on tents? I have a sweet Sierra Design Flashlight 1 FL that I really like, but I just went and hiked around Death Valley only to discover that there is no way that bad boy is getting staked into hard ground. So I think that tent is out... I have another tent that is easy to set up, only problem is it weighs 4 lb 9 oz with poles, tent, and rainfly. Buuuuuut I am kinda leaning towards it because I already own it.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by FireFly » Jan 10 2018 5:12 am

rkroeger wrote:
Jan 09 2018 3:06 pm
The concept of the spreadsheet seems intimidating. I am just planning section by section using a word document, and by actually writing on the maps I will be taking with me. I am banking on that being enough.
While still at home I used a spreadsheet because I find it easier to organize (one line for each day, different kinds of information in different columns) but before I went on the trail I printed it out on just one double-sided sheet of paper that I used for reference on the trail (with a pdf backup on my phone). But I'm sure what you are planning to do works equally well.
Changing subjects- does anyone have recommendations on tents? I have a sweet Sierra Design Flashlight 1 FL that I really like, but I just went and hiked around Death Valley only to discover that there is no way that bad boy is getting staked into hard ground. So I think that tent is out... I have another tent that is easy to set up, only problem is it weighs 4 lb 9 oz with poles, tent, and rainfly. Buuuuuut I am kinda leaning towards it because I already own it.
I really loved my Tarptent Double Rainbow on the AZT. Lightweight (41oz, or 35oz for the 1-person version), lots of space, quick to set up and very versatile. It needs 6 stakes. You can make it self-standing using your trekkingpoles but that only works if there is no wind, which is rarely the case on the AZT so I've never used it that way.

However, there are two downsides to this tent:
1) The tent is partly single skin, which means you will get condensation. Not a big problem in dry Arizona.
2) It's one piece. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage. The tent is very easy and quick to set up or break up because of it. But when it is wet (from rain or condensation) it is more difficult to knock out the water than it would be when you have a separate flysheet.

Anyway, I would definitively bring this tent again if I were to hike the AZT again and I'm planning to use it this year on the PCT.

On the AZT I never had problems hammering the stakes into the ground using a stone, but I sometimes had to put heavy stones on top when camping with high winds and soft soil.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by AndrewAZ » Jan 10 2018 6:37 am

rkroeger wrote:
Jan 09 2018 3:06 pm
Changing subjects- does anyone have recommendations on tents? I have a sweet Sierra Design Flashlight 1 FL that I really like, but I just went and hiked around Death Valley only to discover that there is no way that bad boy is getting staked into hard ground. So I think that tent is out... I have another tent that is easy to set up, only problem is it weighs 4 lb 9 oz with poles, tent, and rainfly. Buuuuuut I am kinda leaning towards it because I already own it.
I used an original Tarptent Moment, which is a single-wall tent (the newest version is a dual wall). I think I had condensation on 2 nights during the hike. It only requires 2 stakes, which made setup generally easy. However, it's not ideal for tall people. I'm 6'2", and it takes some serious contortions to fit me and all my gear every night (the tent ends up looking like a rummage sale inside). This is less of a problem in dry Arizona with no condensation, but getting dressed and packed every morning in wet Colorado was a challenge.

My hiking partner used a Tarptent Rainbow, which is 6 stakes, and he didn't have any problems with staking it out. It also looks like it's a better tent for tall people.

If going with a Tarptent, you'd probably want to order sometime soon to make sure you have it before mid-March.

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by ssthomas19 » Jan 10 2018 11:36 am

Hey Ryland,

I'm starting my thru-hike on March 21st and giving myself until May 3rd to finish which is approx 20 mi/day with 2 zeros and 3 nearos. During my planning some of the resupply logistics stumped me. I came across a really good guide written by a thru-hiker(web address below). Some things may have changed since it was written but it gives really good descriptions of the resupply towns, what they offer (package drops, lodging, resupply, pizza and beer, etc), addresses, and how to get there.
I'd love to hear more about your planning, gear choices, etc, so I'll be checking back on this thread.
See you out there,
Sara

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Re: AZT thru hike in March 2018

Post by sandyfortner » Jan 12 2018 5:27 pm

I used a Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 UL for years and loved it. Just switched to Big Agnes Copper Spur 1 UL and am quite happy with it. Some things I liked better with the Seedhouse, such as it having a narrow footprint - I could put it up just about anywhere. But, I am really enjoying the side entry of the Copper Spur - main reason I switched tents. Both are free standing so no need to worry about stakes. My pack, a Gossamer Gear Mariposa, is almost flat when empty, so it goes under my feet and all of my gear fits inside. I leave nothing out except water bottles.
:M2C: Goldilocks

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