Ponder the path of your feet: then all your ways will be sure. ~Proverbs 4:25-27 ~ Original painting by my daughter, Stealthy
Original painting by my daughter, Stealthy

Ponder the path of your feet: then all your ways will be sure. ~Proverbs 4:25-27

So excited

I am starting to hike the Arizona Trail in a couple of days. Normally a thru-hike this time of year would not be possible for me, but I am a newly retired teacher. So as my son’s friend said to me, “The world is your oyster.” Pretty cool when you think of life in that light. Lots of choices.

I have decided to break this 800 mile trail into two parts, hike northbound in April from Mexico to Pine at the Mongollon Rim (460 miles) during the wildflower season and hike the second half, 340 miles southbound from the the Utah/Arizona border during fall color season in the late fall. This schedule was recommended in the guidebook for the Arizona Trail. Plus, it fits nicely to getting me back home in a few weeks for some spring skiing.

Lucky me, I am meeting and starting the trail with Leslie, trail name Tour Guide. She is hiking the entire trail, then after finishing the trail, she is spending some time bike packing. Leslie and her husband, Keith are fine human beings, athletes, and trail angels. Just last year, Why Not and I were spoiled rotten during our stay at their home in Banff while hiking the Great Divide Trail. Here is one of my favorite photos I took of Tour Guide just outside of my hometown, Tehachapi in 2012.

Leslie (trail name Tour Guide) on her PCT Southbound Hike October 2012
Leslie (trail name Tour Guide) on her PCT Southbound Hike October 2012

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What is the Arizona Trail

The Arizona Trail (AZT) is a rugged and beautifully wild long-distance trail stretching from the borders of Mexico to Utah. Traversing 800 miles, it climbs up and over southern Arizona’s signature sky islands, weaves through extraordinary desert landscapes and mountains, and travels over Arizona’s high country, all before it passes through the iconic Grand Canyon.

The Arizona Trail has it’s own vocabulary and organization. It is divided into sections called Passages and trail towns are called Gateway Communities. From all my reading and the AZT Facebook page, there are friendly hiker support systems with rides to and from towns and some stocking of important water caches. I am really looking forward to experiencing this trail community and Arizona trail life.

Arizona Trail Elevation Profile
Arizona Trail Elevation Profile
Arizona Trail Map
Arizona Trail Map


Prepping for a longer hike takes a bit of organization. I have of late become a creature that makes to-do lists. Not just a basic brief list, long detailed lists. Sounds weird, but it works fantastic and takes the stress of remembering all the little things to be done off me and puts it right onto the paper. I used this strategy for my Arizona Trail planning for food, gear, and logistics. I also created a Google Drive folder that houses maps, itineraries, contact information, links, water sources, town information etc. I save the individual files for offline use and also share the folder with family members.


There is a plethora of information on this trail that is well-done. Here are the main resources I am using.

GPSGuthook Atlas App This will be my main source of info for navigation, water sources, and town information.

GuidebookYour Complete Guide to the Arizona Trail (Kindle Version)

Maps – Join the Arizona Trail Association to get full access to maps and a databook- Arizona Trail Website

The Arizona Trail Association’s website – This website is very organized and is packed with valuable trail data.

Arizona Trail Class of 2019 Facebook page – Get ready… this is a very active group that are quick to respond online with questions, reports, and requests.


There are many small gateway communities along the way, which makes for less big food hauls. I am sending food resupply boxes to the following towns: Patagonia, Vail, Oracle, Kearny, and Roosevelt.


Arizona Trail Gear
Arizona Trail Gear

I changed up a couple of things for this trail because of heat and possible water carries. I am bringing an umbrella (full size for more protection), extra 2 liter platypus for water, changing my Neoair Xtherm for my NeoAirlite (night temps will be warmer), leaving my big camera behind (using my new iPhone XR with a Moment lens attached), and using a titanium pot/mug with a small stove.

My base weight (all gear without water and food) is around 11 pounds.

Here are the details.

Backpack, Shelter, Sleeping



First Aid

Potty Bag



Clothing (packed)

Clothing (worn)

Misc. Gear

Food Protection


Readers often ask how I put together my healthy gluten and dairy free trail dinners. Preparation is some work, but on trail I love that they only need boiling water to cook and are delicious and nutritious.

Here is what I do before I hit the trail.

Backpacking Dinner Base
Carbohydrate dinner base – I dehydrate rice, rice noodles, and sweet potatoes
Backpacking Protein for Dinner Preparation
Protein for Dinner Preparation – I dehydrate Canned chicken, fresh shrimp, hamburger, and tuna. I also use bought beans and nuts.
Backpacking Dinner Vegetables
Dinner Vegetables – This year I bought dehydrated and freeze dried from a variety of companies
Backpacking Condiments for Dinners
This is what really makes a difference in the delicious factor – Condiments for Dinners
Time to assemble meals - Backpacking dinners
This is how I assemble dinners. I put everything out on a table and add about 5 ounces of ingredients to quart size bags. Usually, a carb, protein, spices, and olive oil packet. For this trip I am bringing a small bottle of olive oil
Backpacking Dinner assembly tools
Assembly tools that are very helpful but not necessary
Backpacking Dinners for 3 weeks on the trail
Backpacking Dinners for 3 weeks on the trail

After that is all done I line up all the breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners to load into resupply boxes and/or my pack.

I have been using this system for years and it works for our family.

Breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners for 3 weeks on the Arizona Trail
Gluten, dairy, and nightshade free breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners for about 21 days of hiking on the Arizona Trail

I am looking forward to sharing this trail with you.


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