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Begins: Mar 10, 2018
Date: Wed, May 23rd, 2018
Trip Distance: 796.5
Entry Visits: 292
Journal Visits: 10,359
Guestbook Views: 67
Guestbook Entrys: 5
Arizona Trail Map
(Click image for full size)
It's always hard to sum up time on a trail. This was our 3rd time on the AZT (and some parts it was our 4th time). You would think we'd get tired of it, but the diversity of the trail keeps it interesting. And since it was such a dry year, it made for some unique challenges.
We started earlier than prior years, partly because of the drought. It turned out to be a good decision. We enjoyed some cooler weather in the southern sections, the water sources were good enough. It meant we would slow down in the north (even without Yeahbut's injury), because we wanted to reach the N Rim of Grand Canyon after it had opened for the season. We really enjoy the services the park has to offer on the N Rim, so for us, it was worth waiting/slowing down. It also meant the temps were a bit warmer, and the aspens had leafed out some, making for prettier hiking.
We used a single-walled tent for the second half of the hike and found that it performed well. We never had the condensation problems people complain about. Again, perhaps because the temps were a bit warmer.
The backcountry office at Grand Canyon was MUCH nicer than in our prior visits. At least some of them seem to now understand the needs of a thru hiker!
We went cookless again this year. I love this. We got to leave the weight of a stove, pot, fuel behind. Food prep was simple, and we often ate in our sleeping bags in the tent.
The trail continues to improve. It was generally well marked, and the tread was easy to follow in most places. The worst miles are still the worst miles (from Superior to Pine), but even these sections have improved. The Mazatzals are still plagued by narrow, rocky tread. I didn't meet anyone who enjoyed this area, which is a shame, because it is a wild place. We just spent too much time watching our feet! The water sources are generally better than in the past; new ones and improved ones make finding water a bit nicer.
It is a tough hike, but I no longer believe that it is too tough for a first thru hike. The phone app makes it possible to keep up on trail conditions. The Facebook page of the AZTA is also a good resource while on trail.
Happy hiking to everyone who tries this!