Week 1: 3/3 – 3/9
Mile 0 – 113
Week 1 is in the books! We have traveled over 100 miles and are camping just outside the town of Vail. All four of us are still working out the kinks as we adjust to trail life, but the dads are doing great and the trip is exceeding all of our expectations.
Trash: Granite Gear is sponsoring a number of hikers this year to help clean up trails around the country. Chicory was one of the few selected and has been picking up trash that she finds along the trail as we move along. Its been a very fun component of the hike that I’ve been trying to help with. We are lucky to get to share our love of the outdoors with our dads, and in addition to setting a good example in Leave No Trace principles we get to work to leave the trail better than we found it. Through the first two weeks (I’m writing this post a little late) we’ve already hauled out over 35lbs of trash!
Patagonia: Our first resupply point was in the town of Patagonia. I didn’t have any expectations for that town. I knew it was small and it didn’t sport a wide variety of resources. It turned out that what it lacked in quantity it made up for in quality. The folks of Patagonia were incredibly kind and very supportive of the AZT and all its users. We booked a room for the night where we took showers and did laundry. We filled up on great food, first at a Mexican restaurant called Mercedes Cafe and then again at The Wagon Wheel Saloon. This little town ended up having everything a hiker needs and we left the next day feeling refreshed and energized.
Landscape: The terrain has been surprisingly beautiful so far. The trail has greatly exceeded my expectations of what we would find in southern Arizona. The lower elevation sections are covered in golden grasses and as we climb we enter the sky islands. Sky islands are areas located at the summit of mountains and their high elevation allow for ecosystems that you would expect to find in the mountains of California. Full of trees, streams, and a variety of wildlife, these sky islands offer appreciated reprieves from the desert heat. Although the trail has been difficult, the varying landscape provides plenty of motivation to keep moving forward.
The Heat: I would say we have been very fortunate with weather, but we have had some hot days. The heat of the sun mixed with the lack of shade provided by the low lying shrubbery makes shade seem like a luxury. We are working at being more conscious of the heat, making sure we’re staying hydrated and trying to plan our hiking during the cooler hours of the day.
Aches and Pains: I think all four of us are feeling the physicality of hiking. It always takes a few weeks to readjust. I’m happy to say that everyone is still healthy and doing well. Although Van is developing some blisters. Ali is enjoying reminding him of a saying he always told her growing up “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ”
Overall the trip couldn’t be going better and I’m stoked to see what’s coming up next.