This is officially the first blog I’ve written. Ever. For a while now, I have contemplated writing a blog, but what would I even say? As I type this, I am still wondering why on Earth would I want to put my inner thoughts out for everyone to read? Finally, two years ago I found my reason when I set my sights on the Arizona National Trail (AZT). The AZT is roughly an 800 mile hiking/biking/equestrian trail stretching from the U.S./ Mexico border near Sierra Vista, Arizona to the Arizona/Utah Border.
As a woman new to thru-hiking, I conducted more than my fair share of research and planning, reading every blog, website and Pinterest I could possibly find on backpacking the AZT. I’m the kind of person who researches EVERYTHING prior to making a decision so naturally I wanted to know what gear I should use, how to begin planning resupply strategy, what kind of food should I pack (harder now that I’ve been plant based for almost a year), how far should I be hiking each day, how much water I need to carry and how to be physically fit enough to walk with gear all day, day after day! There were endless resources to answer all my questions but they weren’t for the AZT. The majority of the resources were for more commonly hiked trails such as the Pacific Coast Trail (2,650 miles long), the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles long), and the Continental Divide Trail (a whopping 3,100 miles long). What I rarely found was beginner information for the shorter, less commonly hiked Arizona National Trail. Maybe that should have been my first clue as to what I was up against.
With less than 2 months until my start date, I am finishing up my resupply boxes, have all the gear I need (fingers crossed!), and I physically feel fantastic after switching to a plant based diet and attending CrossFit for the last year- also going on a variety of many many hikes! As we get closer to March 7, I will post some updates with photos on my progress.
I am by no means a professional writer, backpacker, or gear specialist, but I hope to help other ‘newbie’ thru hikers understand your journey starts somewhere. Whether it is on a small weekend getaway or the 800 mile AZT, we are all beginners at some point in our lives and while it may be scary, it can be done! I am not sure how my upcoming adventure will end: will I have to tap out for a medical reason… will I be too scared to do more… will all my planning be completely incorrect… or by some miracle will I complete it? All I know is I have planned this trip the best I know how to, I’m attempting it and that makes me proud!
With that said, I hope you all enjoy my journey in experiencing the ups, the downs and many firsts all around!