Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

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cavaroc
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Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 08 2015 1:56 pm

Hey all! My girlfriend and I are thru-hiking the AZT this spring and can't wait to leave! We're coming from Jackson Hole, WY and plan on starting some time in the first week of March. Anyone else starting around that time? We're always up for meeting new people and hearing about their experiences.

We've got the guidebook and loaded the map from the HikeArizona app on our phones. Are the topo maps in the store worth it? Are they printable? I only ask because the book is very heavy and we're hoping to leave it behind.

Also how's the precipitation looking this year so far? We're hoping for at least average wetness in the mountains to make water a little easier going at first, though we don't plan on skimping on it when necessary.

Thanks in advance for any responses and looking forward to meeting some other folks on the trail!
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joebartels
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by joebartels » Jan 08 2015 2:12 pm

Precip has been decent through December. Many of the spring & creeks in Arizona are very seasonal. They seem to average four weeks of good use after substantial rain. More when it's cooler, less as it heats up. Keep an eye on the weather ahead of your trip and you should have a good idea what you will encounter.
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cavaroc
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 08 2015 2:28 pm

Thanks, Joe!
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Sredfield
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by Sredfield » Jan 08 2015 3:30 pm

Printed topo maps are ideal, the book is very cool but as you say, heavy. There is a water source link on the ATA website, it ranks water sources by reliability. As you hike you will gain a feel of how the ratings relate to the overall conditions. In dry years 1's and 2's will be very iffy, in wet years most will have water. All very subjective but it seems to work.
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 08 2015 9:30 pm

cavaroc wrote:I only ask because the book is very heavy and we're hoping to leave it behind.
Can you split the book up and send the appropriate pieces to the appropriate resupply points? Then discard the piece of the sections you just finished. That way you are only carrying the pieces of the guide that you need.

ATA has this resource that looks great. http://www.aztrail.org/topo_maps/topo_maps.php. If you want physical topo maps I'm not sure how many topo maps you would need for the AZT. But it's probably close to 129. That's a lot of investment. And you would want to send the appropriate ones to the appropriate resupply points just like you would with pieces of the book. You won't want to carry all of them the whole way.
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cavaroc
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 12 2015 8:13 am

Al_HikesAZ - I kind of like the idea of splitting up the book. We may just wind up doing it that way. Thanks for the tip!
Shawn - Thanks for the tips about the water and topo maps! Downloadable topo maps look like a good way to go.
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 12 2015 12:08 pm

Sredfield wrote: There is a water source link on the ATA website
Shawn- great resource. I notice a few have the Lat Long. Are there plans to add the lat long of water sources? Or are they visible enough once one is in the vicinity? I'm sure some would be hard to miss, but others can be obscure.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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blisterfree
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by blisterfree » Jan 13 2015 1:50 pm

@Al_HikesAZ The "lat / long" to water sources in Arizona is a combination of boot prints, horse hooves, bike tread, discarded personal effects, and cow poo. You won't be likely to miss the water sources once you're in the general vicinity. Ok, I exaggerate the impacts a tad. Bottom line, water is life, nowhere more so than in the desert. And yes, the pine forests of northern Arizona also qualify as a desert, at least in regard to water availability. But probably not this year! Been raining and snowing quite a bit throughout the state of Arizona this winter, from what I gather.

The more serious answer is that the Arizona Trail topo maps CD includes a data book of its own which lists the waypoints for all POI's shown on the maps (the numerical coordinates in decimal degrees). This includes a majority of the water sources listed on the regularly maintained water chart linked on the ATA website. Not all of the waypoints are field-recorded at this point, but should be close enough to reality for thirst-quenching purposes.

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cavaroc
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 18 2015 11:03 am

Thanks for all the great info! I had another question that might not apply to too many people. I plan on bringing my DSLR and two lenses, which I know will add significant weight, but I'm a passionate nature and night sky photographer so leaving it behind simply isn't an option.

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for charging DSLR batteries via solar units? Any preferred types/brands/etc?

We're also looking at Android GPS apps. We've narrowed it down to Alpine Quest and Backcountry Navigator. Are they pretty much the same? Anybody like one over the other for any particular reason?

Thanks a bunch in advance!
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big_load
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by big_load » Jan 18 2015 12:31 pm

I have Alpine Quest, although I don't use it much because its user interface is oddly dissimilar to most other standalone or computer-based GPS tools. I know a lot more people who use Backcountry Navigator, but I haven't used that one myself and don't have an opinion about it. You might also look at HAZ Tracks.

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The_Eagle
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by The_Eagle » Jan 18 2015 1:24 pm

big_load wrote:You might also look at HAZ Tracks.
For sure check it out....

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blisterfree
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by blisterfree » Jan 18 2015 6:07 pm

The Gaia GPS app offers offline storage of MyTopo maps within the app, so you can load a track and grab the corresponding maps on a WiFi connection, then head afield. Fairly clean interface, intuitive. A little bug-prone, depending on what version of iOS / Android and/or the app one uses. I wouldn't use it to record tracks when it really counts, but it's a solid program for following a track on a map, or navigating to waypoints.

Oh, hey, check out HAZ Track too, why don't I?

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cavaroc
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 19 2015 8:48 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the info!

Yeah HAZ Tracks would seem like a logical one to check out too, wouldn't it? ;)
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justgrif
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by justgrif » Jan 20 2015 1:43 pm

@cavaroc
Screen shot the pages of the book and map into u r smart phone or electronic device

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Sredfield
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by Sredfield » Jan 20 2015 2:47 pm

How about paper maps and printed data book? The batteries go dead, or get lost, or . . .
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cavaroc
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 20 2015 9:14 pm

justgrif - That's actually a great idea. Sredfield - we plan on bringing solar chargers to do some documenting and photography so at least one of our phones should always have a charge.
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blisterfree
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by blisterfree » Jan 20 2015 11:05 pm

@cavaroc Great idea as a backup. You'll be referring to the maps and other info regularly, probably moreso than on a more established path. Not only is battery life an issue, but so is screen reading comfort in the bright sunny desert. The brighter the backlight setting needed to compensate, the more battery drain incurred. Paper isn't dead yet, it's just going through a mid-life crisis.

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cavaroc
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by cavaroc » Jan 24 2015 9:26 am

Good point. Definitely something to consider.

Something else I was wondering - I've heard the precipitation has been pretty good this winter down there. We were planning on starting the first week of March. I'm beginning to wonder if this might be too early? Will we be hitting more snow than expected?

I was expecting a snow shower or two in the sky islands and snow at the North Rim of the GC, but I'm wondering if it'll be a problem in Saguaro and north of Summerhaven. Any thoughts?
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chumley
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by chumley » Jan 24 2015 9:34 am

It's been pretty dry for the last month. The snow pack is generally less than 12" except on the San Francisco Peaks. (And there is basically zero until you are above 6500 feet). If the current status continues, it is possible you will barely see any snow at all in March. But one or two storms between now and then could change that significantly. Once there actually is snow on the ground, it takes a long time before it melts from the higher elevations.

And spring storms can always bring snow to higher elevations. I ran into two AZT thru-hikers on a day hike in April 2012 on the Mogollon Rim who were sheltering in a cabin during a snowstorm. http://hikearizona.com/photoset=19638
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WhiskeyTaylor
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Re: Spring 2015 Thru-hike and Greetings!

Post by WhiskeyTaylor » Jan 26 2015 10:31 am

@cavaroc
I will be taking off on the AZT the 2nd week in March, hopefully I will see you guys on the trail. I joined the Arizona Trail association so that I gain access to all the information available there and I have gone ahead and downloaded all the trail descriptions, elevation charts, maps, resupply points, ect. to my phone. It's like having the guide good at less than a 10th the weight.

I hope that helps,
See you on the trail!

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