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Question about weather for AZT veterans...

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ssthomas19
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Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by ssthomas19 » Jan 20 2018 5:33 pm

I'm planning on starting my thru-hike of the AZT in mid-March(just like everyone else) and my current itinerary puts me at the state line at the very end of April/the very beginning of May.

For those of you who have done the AZT/have experience hiking in Arizona in the springtime, what kind of weather should I expect? I know that every year is different and there can be massive temperature discrepancies due to changing elevation, but in general, how's the weather? I'm thinking minimal rain gear and probably mailing my cold gear to GCV on the South Rim because I feel it will be largely unnecessary before the North Rim and subsequent trek into Utah.

And since I'm typing this up, how is the bug situation? I'll probably just carry some bug spray and not worry about a mosquito net or anything.

Thoughts?

Also, I have a really warm sleeping bag so no sleeping in a parka/down jacket.

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big_load
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Re: Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by big_load » Jan 20 2018 8:02 pm

ssthomas19 wrote:what kind of weather should I expect?
Every kind.

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sandyfortner
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Re: Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by sandyfortner » Jan 21 2018 9:10 am

Generally, we have very few bugs. When the saguaros bloom we get our gnats but that won't be til later. You can still be getting snow on the North Rim in May, so be prepared! Sky Islands in the southern part of the state and any mountain area can see snow storms in March for sure. Right now, as I'm sure you've been reading, we are unseasonably warm and dry. So, yes, any type of weather throughout the state. Can't imagine any use for mosquito net. Depending on your daily miles, you may be able to hike over high points, sleep low and not need winter gear til you get north. But, if you'll be up in the Rincons, Santa Catalina, Miller for the night, it could be downright nippy!
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Jan 21 2018 9:15 am

ssthomas19 wrote:Also, I have a really warm sleeping bag so no sleeping in a parka/down jacket.
Turn the sleeves of your jacket inside out, zip it up and pull it over your feet and lower part of your sleeping bag. This will keep your lower body and feet warmer with out having to take a heavy sleeping bag. Then you will also have the jacket for those few windy and cold days. Just sayin....
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
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FireFly
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Re: Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by FireFly » Jan 21 2018 10:47 am

Regarding temperatures, last year I carried a thermometer so I was able to measure. Temperatures in the morning were often around freezing and sometimes below. The coldest I've measured was 24F at North Rim on the morning of May 18th. (measured near the ground next to my tent). The night before had a snowstorm.

Regarding bugs: they were not a major problem but in some areas I was happy to have a tent fully enclosed with mesh because there were many little midges that always attacked my ears for some reason and always crawled into my ears if I let them. They promptly disappeared after sunset but I always like to finish early and take a rest and then it was nice to have mesh around me for that reason. I have not encountered any biting insects as far as I can remember.

Temperatures started to get suddenly cold after the Mogollon Rim. There have been one or two days that I hiked the entire day wearing two layers. And during the whole hike I was very happy with my downjacket almost every evening.

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ssthomas19
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Re: Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by ssthomas19 » Jan 21 2018 9:38 pm

@sandyfortner
Thanks, very helpful. I don't want to bring too much and send it home only to need it later.

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AndrewAZ
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Re: Question about weather for AZT veterans...

Post by AndrewAZ » Jan 22 2018 10:19 am

The coldest night in the southern half was at Manning Camp in the Rincons. It got down to freezing or so. The coldest nights in the northern half were the first night above the Mogollon Rim (a flowing creek froze over) and then on the Kaibab plateau (close to freezing).

The typical late March/early April winter storm hit while I was at Roosevelt. It would've been very wet and cold to be in the Four Peaks wilderness during that storm (which lasted a day and a half). There was still some snow on the ground the day after.

The hottest days in the southern half were close to 90. That was between Oracle and Superior. That ~100 miles is low on both water and shade. The stretch along the Gila River was hot, humid (for Arizona), didn't have a wisp of a breeze, and had quite a few gnats. For the northern half, I think the bottom of the Grand Canyon was 95 or so on May 2 (warmer than average).

My concern with mailing cold weather gear to the South Rim would be the sky islands and the stretch from the Mogollon Rim to Flagstaff. Even in the non-cold sections, I was happy to have my down coat at night in camp.

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