Thru Hiking the AZT with a Canine

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Thru Hiking the AZT with a Canine

Post by azdult01 »

Hey, all I am a noob so please don't thrash me too badly. I backpacked a lot in Middle School and High School. Which was almost 20+ years ago now. Eeek. I am a combat vet and yes I have been injured and receive service connect disability from the VA. I live in Tucson, AZ, and have been wanting to attempt a Through Hike or possibly attempt the section from Mexico to Mt. Lemmon. However, I don't know that I could do it without my service dog Blu. However, Blu is a rescue and his breed is Pitbull/Husky. Which makes him probably the most handsome dog in the world. But his long hair makes him run hot. He does wear a vest daily and when we do 10+ miles in Town or on a hike. He has a large vest and packs his own water and poop bags. He can pack about 4 liters of water but any more is too much for him. Also, background on me. I do walk most places in town. Because of my military background. I literally say this honestly. I can march endlessly. However, due to a knee injury(severe). If I push too hard I can strain it and render myself in bed for a day. Normally that's 20+ miles with a heavy pack. Now I've been purchasing backpacking gear but haven't done any overnighters yet. I guess I fear it. I've become increasingly distant from society, especially after this pandemic. So wanted to introduce myself and maybe get some ideas. All suggestions are welcome and I take constructive criticism well.
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Re: Thru Hiking the AZT with a Canine

Post by xsproutx »

Hey bud, combat disabled vet here and past thru hiker of some long trails, though mostly good to go at this point except in certain scenarios. I've seen similar breeds on the AZT so it definitely *can* be done, you just need to be smarter and think more about it and be a bit more willing to get off trail/take zeros or neros when you need to: you know your dog better than anyone else.
As far as mileage goes, sure you have the people blowing through with 25+ mile days but you still have a ton of people finishing the trail in 50 days+ as well, which is only 16 miles per day, which is pretty damn reasonable and achievable (and even if that's you're starting point, give it 2 solid weeks on trail and you'll be knocking out more).
If you're interested in doing a simple overnight to try and push through some of the unknown, let me know; over the last 10 years or so I've taken more than a few vets on similar trips or I can give you some detailed itinerary for success to at least push past that barrier.
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Re: Thru Hiking the AZT with a Canine

Post by nonot »

You say you've been hiking with your dog 10+ miles, so before tackling that long thru-hike, perhaps try a local backpacking trip or two and figure out what, if anything, you need to alter or prepare for differently with a dog present. The main things to focus on are food/water and possibly shelter, though with it being a husky, probably not an issue. Consider bringing some type of thorn/cactus/fur deburring equipment should your dog be the curious type, or wander into an area with lots of clingy seed pods. This might be as simple as a large comb.

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Re: Thru Hiking the AZT with a Canine

Post by RowdyandMe »

So when are you planning to do this? I have done section 5,6.7 and 8 with my service dog Rowdy. I would like to do section 1 thru 4 with 4 being the longest at 20 miles. Rowdy carries 1 liter of water and I carry the rest.
Rowdy and Widowmaker
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