Riding the AZT

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Joined: Jan 19 2016 7:16 pm
City, State: Mesa, AZ

Riding the AZT

Post by chelwood » Jan 19 2016 7:23 pm

Anybody ridden the AZT on horseback? Any tips or tricks? How did you manage food for the animals and yourself and how many pack animals did you take? I'm in the early stages of planning my trip. Any guidance would be amazing!

Thank you!

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Joined: Feb 12 2008 8:04 pm
City, State: Tucson, AZ

Re: Riding the AZT

Post by sirena » Jan 21 2016 12:10 am

Hi Chelsea-

Don't know how many equestrians will answer your post on the forum, so I wanted to give you some leads on who to speak with about planning. Two trail stewards- Bonnie Slaten and Lynn Maring- are your best bet for information. Bonnie is almost done section-riding the trail and Lynn is almost done with her second time.

Bonnie: doctorotis143@gmail.com

Lynn: lynnmaring@cox.net

Happy Planning!
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view."
-Edward Abbey

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Re: Riding the AZT

Post by BrettVet » Jan 21 2016 3:35 pm

I have ridden a few sections of the and overnight packed few, including the Grand Canyon. I pack a lot and would recommend only one pack animal. Lot easier to feed, pony and makes mule management much easier. I pack like a backpacker ie as light as possible, carry pelleted feed and steak hobbles to let them graze. A foldable chair and coffee pot are the only real luxuries. The mules are high lined at night with tree savers as not to damage trees. The parts of the AZT I have ridden are equine friendly, but CARRY A SAW! Downed trees are a constant problem, esp. in the high country and you have to ride around them or cut through them. I use plastic panniers that will slow down a bear and a top H pack with a sawbuck pack saddle . Lot easier than old school with knots although not as cool. . I would try a few overnighters first and practice packing around home first. Riding through a tunnel and on to a suspension bridge in the Grand Canyon requires a dead broke equine and special equines permits. Most stuff is available from Outfitter Supply online. The last tip is that water is a real issue. A mule can drink 15 gallons at a time. You will need a support person to meet you with water. Good luck.

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Re: Riding the AZT

Post by lynnmaring » Feb 19 2016 8:00 am

Hi Chelsea,

I think I received an email from you but didn't have a question to the subject and I didn't open the email, thus responding a little late. I have ridden the trail nearly twice, just lacking 10.4 mile from Barnhardt intersection to Mt. Peeley, needless to say the Mazatzals are on my monster list to get done. I have done it in sections the first time taking 6 years and looks as if will be the same the second. I do not have a pack horse, (never have) I put everything on one horse, thanks to the light weight backpacking trend, tent, sleeping bag and MRE are lighter and easier to carry. My recommendations: drive to each trailhead, have yourself and horse in shape, carry a personal emergency locator of some sort, get the chip for the azt trail,if the book says the trail is difficult it is! be prepared to change plans on the fly should conditions change while on the trail, carry tools to clear dead fall, don't ride alone, do a practice pack trip. I have never cached water. I have changed and rearranged packs over the years as I have gotten marginally smarter. It can be done but remember the trail will always be there if you find a difficult area and question if able to continue and safety is a concern TURN AROUND. The first tme it took me 2 years to get through the Mazatzals due to deadfall and washouts. Good Luck its a beautiful trail but will make you question your sanity in some areas. Lynn

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Re: Riding the AZT

Post by Jean Mcelmurry » Feb 24 2016 10:23 pm

I plan on hiking the first passage in a few weeks. We are taking mules in a week to search out the sonoita area. So I also am just planning on how I can do this
Good luck.

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