Sanity Check

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BillCarlinOFR07
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Sanity Check

Post by BillCarlinOFR07 » Feb 13 2016 12:58 pm

Last year, in July, my daughter springs this idea during one of our rare phone calls. "What would you think about hiking the Appalachian Trail?". I thought it was pretty cool and asked her what brought that on. She said she knew I am a good planner and thought I could help by planning way in advance as I normally do about things I am passionate about rather than the last minute stuff she specializes in (and makes work, BTW). Shortly after that exchange, I started to add things up. She's turning 40 the next month and I thought she was going to thru hike the entire AT to prove a point. I called her on her birthday and was relieved to find her aspirations were to do 100-some miles over 10-ish days on the AT thru the Shenandoah National Park with a long term goal of Grand Canyon.
She did a tourist day hike in Grand Canyon a couple of years ago and loved it. That was during an epic road trip from Virginia to Surprise, AZ with a girlfriend from high school in a mini Cooper. I called the mini (named Otto) a mobile luggage tetris arena and, in hindsight, almost qualifies as backpacking when considering that storage capacity shared by two women.
Today, I heard about something called the Arizona Trail on a podcast and wondered if it would provide a way for us to start in the Tucson Area, where my sister-in-law lives, and get us to the Grand Canyon. Some web-searching for a map that includes an elevation profile has been frustrating and I am reluctant to invest in a databook before exhausting some free options to evaluate if this qualifies as a bat-guano-crazy idea or not.
We are backpacking the SNP on the last week of April for 10-ish days. We did a shakedown hike in her home area in Florida in the Ocala National Forest during the last week of January and got our "hiking in torrential rain" ticket punched along with overnight lows in the mid-40's. We got sore, didn't end up hating each other's guts, and freakin' loved it! It was comically overloaded because we were doubling up on some items for comparison & we still have a lot to learn.
What I would like to start with is the basics of distance, elevation, & resources just for a quick sniff test to see, first, if it's possible and, having passed that test, the time I need to devote that backpacking adventure. I found an interactive map but it's got too many bells and whistles to filter away before getting results specific to the AZT and I never got close to getting results of a walk from Tucson to Grand Canyon that followed the AZT.
Thanks, in advance! I realize I am being lazy about this and could probably sift thru the forums for my answer but I want something quick to base a yes/no decision upon while I go back to concentrating on the AT prep.
I started a blog, an unsuccessful attempt to motivate routine communication with my daughter, that nobody (except a couple of posts from an AT veteran backpacking mentor) has commented on.
http://www.billcarlinofr.blogspot.com
When stuff happens, happen back!

Bill Carlin
Fredericksburg, Virginia

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big_load
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by big_load » Feb 13 2016 1:20 pm

Perhaps you said this, but I'm having trouble parsing it out. When would you be starting from Tucson? Roughly how much time would you allocate? If it's in May, you'll probably find the temperatures from Tucson to the Mogollon Rim pretty brutal. If you're thinking of doing this before the AT, that 100 miles in SNP may seem anticlimactic.

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oldmanonthetrail
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by oldmanonthetrail » Feb 13 2016 1:35 pm

You have found the MOTHERLODE of information and help for the AZT . Best place in the world for a desert newbie to be.It might be a good idea to check the previous posts first though. Then you can avoid looking silly ,like I did

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BillCarlinOFR07
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by BillCarlinOFR07 » Feb 13 2016 2:20 pm

@big_loadThis is just a vaporous idea. An alternative to starting at the Grand Canyon. Very likely to be a 2017 item. A "feature" of my job is the chronic inability to make plans due to schedules written in smoke that rely on a diminishing body pool. I have been around long enough to get nearly 7 weeks of vacation. My daughter is "retired" by means of being smart with her money and minimalist and little overhead. That means that once I commit, we both have a lot of flexibility to make this happen. I just want a quick overview of what this will look like compared to starting on either side of Grand Canyon (which I still have no clue about yet as for duration or distance options). A naive Google maps track for a hike from Tucson to Grand Canyon yields 4 days, 12 hours for 329 miles but the terrain view doesn't seem to support that conclusion.
When stuff happens, happen back!

Bill Carlin
Fredericksburg, Virginia

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BillCarlinOFR07
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by BillCarlinOFR07 » Feb 13 2016 2:24 pm

@oldmanonthetrailLooking silly? I'm too far along to worry about that. Better silly than becoming a negative backpacking statistic. Where do I start browsing? Are there journals for this route? Will this route have a name? The AT & Florida Trails have mile markers, same for AZT?
When stuff happens, happen back!

Bill Carlin
Fredericksburg, Virginia

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cavaroc
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by cavaroc » Feb 13 2016 2:31 pm

Hey Bill,

From Tucson to the Grand Canyon typically takes most hikers roughly 5-6 weeks at a pace of ~15 miles/day. That's also a very rough estimate not based on any data, but what I've gathered most people do on average. There are also two stretches where caching water is highly recommended depending on how the previous winter was. Between Tucson and Flagstaff, you're looking at quite a bit of elevation change as well. As for timing, most people doing the entire trail start in early-mid March and wind up ending in early May. Others start in late September and end some time in November. As big_load pointed out, you basically just want to avoid the heat in the desert, but you also don't want to be trudging through winter storms and snow pack in the higher elevations, which is why most people do it either in spring or fall.

Also, Tucson to the Grand Canyon is the bulk of the trail, so it would actually wind up being closer to 600 miles if you were to stick to the AZT.

Hope that helps.
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joebartels
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by joebartels » Feb 14 2016 1:38 pm

The Arizona Trail has 43 passages. This list links to a page with info on each. Each page contains triplogs, which are journals from previous hikers. Sounds like you are interested in segments 11 through 39.

The most up to date info for passages is at http://www.aztrail.org/passages/passages.php
Anyone devoting over a few days hiking the Ariozna Trail would be wise to get the guidebook.
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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BillCarlinOFR07
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by BillCarlinOFR07 » Feb 14 2016 3:37 pm

@cavaroc Yeah, that helps a lot. I got impatient and got the Guthook AZT app. I used Guthook for iPhone for the Florida Trail for a shakedown in Ocala National Forest and it was great. I will be using it for a Shenandoah National Park section hike this Spring. Found a blogger, doing the AZT now, thru the app so I will be following him as well. In general, I am discouraged from taking long vacations during the Spring & Fall to support refueling outages between 2 power stations I work in Virgina. That fluffs up the disposable income for gear so it's a fair deal. Thanks for the info!
Peace!
When stuff happens, happen back!

Bill Carlin
Fredericksburg, Virginia

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BillCarlinOFR07
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by BillCarlinOFR07 » Feb 14 2016 3:49 pm

@joe bartels What are the sections based on? I will have to poke around some more to find some sort of legend or explanation of the stats presented. Looks pretty comprehensive. It would be nice if the sections were elevation/difficulty corrected so as to estimate a day's travel. Thanks for the info!
Peace!
When stuff happens, happen back!

Bill Carlin
Fredericksburg, Virginia

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joebartels
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by joebartels » Feb 14 2016 5:07 pm

I'm not really the correct person to answer. I'd imagine passages are based on the delicate balance of right-of-way for trails combined with trailhead opportunities.

Arizona is dotted with sky islands in the south. After working through the central varied chaparral zone there is an abrupt step up over the Mogollon Rim. The far north is a plateau ripped open by the Grand Canyon. The course is remarkable with the terrain and land ownership challenges involved.
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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CannondaleKid
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by CannondaleKid » Feb 14 2016 6:10 pm

joe bartels wrote:I'd imagine passages are based on the delicate balance of right-of-way for trails combined with trailhead opportunities.
While I'm sure those were factors, I believe it had more to do with passages beginning/ending at borders between different agencies.
Example: The Passage #16/#17 'trailhead' is at the border between BLM (Dept of Interior) and Tonto National Forest (Dept of Agriculture).
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chumley
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by chumley » Feb 14 2016 6:43 pm

CannondaleKid wrote:I believe it had more to do with passages beginning/ending at borders between different agencies.
Interesting. Of the 41 segment junctions (not including the start and finish), how many occur on agency borders? :-k
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cavaroc
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by cavaroc » Feb 14 2016 10:19 pm

I might be mistaken but I think it also has to do with vehicular access points.
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CannondaleKid
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by CannondaleKid » Feb 15 2016 7:06 am

cavaroc wrote:I might be mistaken but I think it also has to do with vehicular access points.
Yes and no...
The aforementioned Passage #16/#17 trailhead has probably one of the poorest, if not THE poorest vehicular access point. Trust me, I've been there... several times with my Samurai and my lifted & well-modified Cherokee to cache water for public use.

The last time out driving the section in the wash was so badly eroded the Jeep was almost at the tip-over point a number of times so I will not be driving out there again.

This is one case where the #16/#17 TH would be better served on Battleaxe Road just up the hill from the Gila River. While Battleaxe Road is still a rough road, it can be driven with a stock SUV when dry. Plus, the mileage for #16 & #17 would be almost the same each even instead of the current 25 miles & 11 miles.
:M2C:
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mazatzal
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Re: Sanity Check

Post by mazatzal » Feb 15 2016 7:52 am

Passage #24 begins at The Park (no vehicle access).
Passage #25 begins at LF Ranch (no public vehicle access).

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