Is this idea feasible?

A continuous, 800+ mile diverse and scenic trail across Arizona from Mexico to Utah.

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tsimpson
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Is this idea feasible?

Post by tsimpson »

I was wondering if starting the AZT in mid June was feasible. I am a teacher and that would be the earliest I could start. I know most north bounders start in March or April, but that is not an option for me. Suggestions? I have about 3000 miles of hiking experience which includes a 1990 AT thru-hike and about 400 miles in Colorado. I was out there this summer, saw parts of the trail and was intrigued.

Terry Simpson
Durham, NC
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PatrickL
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by PatrickL »

I’m not super familiar with the AZT but summer doesn’t sound like an ideal time to thru-hike. The lower elevations would not be pleasant in the heat. You’d also be dealing with monsoon storms. Section hiking might be a better option.

Surely someone else will chime in.
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ShatteredArm
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by ShatteredArm »

Everything south of the Superstitions would be dangerous in summer, and a lot of water sources wouldn't be available by June.
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xsproutx
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by xsproutx »

I'm extremely familiar with the AZT and did the AT/PCT in 2001/02. Hiking experience is good, but June is a bad time for this trail. Let's say you "could" be good with the heat (debatable if anyone could be good with hiking that much everyday in 105+ temps, but...lets say you're hiking at night and finding shade to sleep in during the day). You will not be able to trust all but a few water reports on FarOut: an enormous amount start running dry/low by the end of April and May. This means incredibly heavy water carries in the 105+ heat. Once on the rim, you may run into monsoons and flash flooding. Neither one is the biggest deal as long as you're smart where you camp but just another thing to add to the list.
Anything is doable, of course, it just won't be pleasant and you'd have to account for a lot more than a normal thru-hike of the AZT, which is a lot tougher than the mileage would lead you to believe. If anything, it's becoming more common for people to start a bit earlier than historically they did. If that's the timing you have and you're looking for longer trails, the Ice Age or SHT might be a better bet.
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toddak
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by toddak »

Not recommended, and I don't think your AT and CO experience can really prepare you for the majority of the AZT with the heat, water scarcity, minimal shade, etc. Do it in pieces, or if you're committed to thru-hiking the whole thing I suggest you take a sabbatical and do it northbound in March/April/May (depending on the winter that year) or southbound in Sept/Oct/Nov. That way you can fully enjoy the amazing diversity of AZ rather than just trying to survive.
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nonot
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by nonot »

June is a pleasant time to hike the high elevation segments of AZT, which applies to many of the sections north of Pine, and a few segments south of there. But attempting the whole trail would be inadvisable. By that time of year AZT sections below 5500 ft elevation will be too hot to be pleasant, and sections below 4000 ft can be deadly, due to the combination of heat and lack of water availability.
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tsimpson
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by tsimpson »

I appreciate the input, folks. Very helpful!

Terry
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Davis2001r6
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Re: Is this idea feasible?

Post by Davis2001r6 »

@nonot Yeah this is probably the best advice. Stay in the AZ North of Pine. You’ll still hit some warm weather, but should be manageable.
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