What's the Rationale?

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Highroad
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 16 2014 5:07 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

What's the Rationale?

Post by Highroad » Feb 21 2015 9:10 pm

Hi everyone!

I've just recently joined Hike Arizona as part of my preparation for hiking the Arizona Trail. I am in the earliest phases of research for this adventure. I would love to do it as a thru-hike, but that's just not going to happen. My current plan is to take two weeks in the spring and then another two weeks in the fall, covering 150-200 miles each time until I am done, working northbound.

The conventional wisdom is to begin northbound hikes in the spring and southbound hikes in the fall. I accept that wisdom, but I confess I don't really understand it. Why is beginning a northbound hike in the fall a bad idea? Or southbound in the spring?

I look forward to hearing from you all, and maybe meeting some of you on the trail!

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Sredfield
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sep 08 2002 1:07 pm
City, State: Ahwatukee, AZ

Re: What's the Rationale?

Post by Sredfield » Feb 21 2015 9:28 pm

Northbound in the Spring--you are following spring as it works north, more water, wildflowers, walking into moderate temps

Southbound in the Fall--following autumn as it moves south, walking into moderate temps
Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

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nonot
Posts: 1926
Joined: Nov 18 2005 11:52 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What's the Rationale?

Post by nonot » Feb 21 2015 10:35 pm

The north side of AZ is mostly on the colorado plateau - higher elevations, snow, a possibility in Dec-Feb.

The southern side of AZ is mostly lowland desert - gets pretty hot April-October

Hence you start low elevation and work to high elevation in spring as it gets warmer. Or you start at high elevation and work to lower elevation as it gets colder in fall.

Water availability in the lower desert is pretty poor during the hot months as well.
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azbackpackr
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Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: What's the Rationale?

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 22 2015 5:08 am

Nonot nailed it. Climate in Arizona is largely a function of elevation above sea level, not of latitude.
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Highroad
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 16 2014 5:07 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What's the Rationale?

Post by Highroad » Feb 22 2015 2:07 pm

Thanks all - makes sense now!

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