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Hiking the Arizona Trail

Aaron Zagrodnick

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Aaron Zagrodnick

All long hikes test your commitment sooner or later. The Arizona Trail is in the “sooner” category. The Mexican border is reached after a two-mile hike from the road at Montezuma Pass. When you are done snapping your border selfies, it’s time to turn north. The Huachucas, first of the sky islands of southern Arizona, are waiting. It’s a 6-mile 3000-foot climb along the ridge crest to the high point. Waterless, mostly shadeless, it’s not the longest or steepest or roughest or hottest or coldest climb you'll encounter on the AZT. It's just the first. The AZT has no pretensions to gentility. It is not a storied and well-established trail. It is raw and rough and hits you with more extremes of weather in a day than you might encounter in a month on other trails. You will complain – to yourself mostly – of these challenges and affronts. No matter. When you commit to this trail, you are committing to the long way and the hard way. That’s the deal...

@HappyHour details his thru-hike of the Arizona Trail in this scenic and engaging tale, find the full article at the following link in Issue 36:

Thru-hiking the Arizona Trail

Thru-hiking the Arizona Trail

Issue 36 Page 1

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finished the AZT in October, starting in Utah and ending up at Sunflower again - you can read about it here.

I promised I would add some info about accessing the northern terminus. My approach was to fly to Page AZ from Denver, then hire a shuttle. The flight was in a 9-seater turboprop that was remarkably inexpensive - I think the one-way ticket was $115. Getting a shuttle to the trailhead was not difficult, but it was pricey. Several shuttle operators are listed on the ATA website here. All of them were asking $150-$200 - more than shuttles to the southern terminus from Tucson, even though the drive is not even half as long.

If you are going northbound, my advice would be to call one of these services from the North Rim (I had weak cell service there, they also have payphones) or perhaps from Jacob Lake. There is little or no service on the Kaibab Plateau.

Have fun, it is an awesome (but hard) hike. Happy to answer any questions.DSC02313.jpg.269c5a715195fc5e2c981302ec97598c.jpg

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