Preparing (Mentally) to Thru-Hike the Arizona Trail

Hello fellow adventurers and explorers!
The idea for this blog came from my desire to solo thru-hike the Arizona Trail in Spring 2016. I wanted to chronicle my research, planning, and of course, the trip itself. However, I will have to postpone my trip for A WHOLE YEAR! While this seems like forever, I have a great reason for it. I was recently offered a job to work for the Forest Service as a wildland firefighter (YAY!!!) this summer and I need to work my butt off all spring to save enough money for the off-season (which starts in October). I’ll be moving to the Tonto Basin region for 6 months (!!!) and will definitely not have any time to hike the AZT. 😦
SO, my adventure is postponed for Spring 2017.
Now, I’m pretty much ready to go. I have all my supplies and gear (except for food) and I could leave within a few days, if given the chance. So, I will playing a waiting game, except this time around, I’ll be able to prepare with some small backpacking trips this coming winter.
I am filled with excitement! This has been something I have wanted to do for YEARS. I WILL make this happen!! In the mean time, I will find other adventures to go on…. 🙂
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I wrote this post in Spring 2015, before I knew so much would happen, so I am just amending it….here is the rest of the post that I originally wrote….
I had known about the Arizona Trail for some time since I am a resident of Tucson and the trail runs close to us. I also know of a few people who ran its entirety. But I recently became VERY interested in it after I ran a 50k in 2014 on a portion of it in Vail, Arizona. It’s weird how that works out….one second you don’t care much about something, and then the next second it consumes you! I’m not sure if it was the 50k itself or the fact that I am looking for a new way to challenge myself (I’m betting it’s this one). I fell in LOVE with the trail and the idea of thru-hiking it one day. So, just a few days ago, I just decided to do it. That’s it. Just quick decision. That’s all it takes.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m terrified of hiking alone. 
Yup, that’s right.
TERRIFIED. 
When the trail gets quiet and I feel like something is watching me, my heart is beating a million times a second.
I’m not sure where this fear came from. I have never had a terrible experience on the trail…well, except for a little situation last year that involved an electric storm and an exposed ridge-line, but that’s something else completely.
 I’m afraid of animals on the trail…mainly mountain lions. Actually, it’s pretty much just mountain lions. Those things scare the crap out of me! Household cats are angry already, just imagine a really angry, REALLY BIG cat stalking you….UGH. And it’s only at certain points in the trail that I feel this way, so I always think something is watching me. I wonder if it is….
Anyway….I’m sick of feeling this way. I love the wilderness.
And I hate that I can’t properly explore it the way that I want to. When I heard that people hiked long trails solo, I just knew it was something I had to try.
I want to push myself. I want to challenge myself. I need to get past this fear of being alone in the wilderness.
So, here we begin…On a journey across Arizona!
I can’t wait to share all of my experiences with you. Please let me know if you have thru-hiked (or even partially hiked) the AZT. I would love to hear about your experience, knowledge and adventures.
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So there you have it! This is an adventure that I’m going to make happen! I don’t care how afraid I am, I’m doing it! Just you watch.
I’ll update as much as possible about my planning and preparation. I’m not solid with food preparation & that will be a struggle, so I encourage any helpful suggestions about that! Please feel free to leave comments on this site or email me at thedesertsherpa(at)gmail(dot)com.
Happy Adventuring!
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