|Krud in Sonora (back when I was EL MONSTRO)|
I had several problems on the AZT in 2007. I didn't have any real data book other than one I scrapped together from second hand information. The guidebook for the AZT that I purchased was basically worthless (no offense intended, but just giving my humble opinion), the maps weren't something to to try to navigate with and more than half of the chapters at the time had no ground info, just a reference to contact the AZTA about current conditions. I ended up mostly using info from a website that a past hiker provided on all the cross country sections. Fortunately this ended up being the most accurate info I had on trail. I was also quite naive as to the weather and window of time to traverse the trail in a high speed fashion. I thought going early would save me exposure to heat, which it might, but it also put me in several snow storms. Honestly looking back on it, I spent more nights freezing on the AZT than I have on any other long distance walk I have done. I got hit right off the bat on Micah Mountain, and this ended up being a wild night. I would say the closest I have ever come to being in serious jeopardy of dieing possibly of exposure. After that my allergies to what I believe where mesquite pollen set in. I felt like I had a head cold for about a week in the Tucson area. Had a unplanned bail at Mt. Lemmon down into Tucson. Then a wasted day leaving town. Then some water issues in the Tortilla Mountains sections (not enough). I also had the worst chafe I have ever had in my life in here. After that I finally got Micro Monkey to mail me my bivy and rain shell (which she told me to take, but I said no wanting to save weight and I was hiking in the desert). Just in time to encounter my 2nd snowstorm of the trip. Then snowing off and on and really bitter cold nights on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon all the way to the Utah state line. Almost forgot too, I got bad water somewhere and was vomiting up my meals every other day. Nothing like getting sustenance only to have it come back up.
One thing I do look at as a positive though is that I stuck it out. That is important as I at least know the route of the entire trail now. Since those experiences and my record being broke now 2 times (check out Greenbears new record from this week here), I have always wanted to return and reclaim my record. After getting my scene down with Bink in 2009 the AZT has always been on my mind. This is a trail I would like to do right. Posting a record that is solid and would give others a good goal would be my number one priority this year. Hoping to come in somewhere between 7-10 days under the current record, but rally aiming for the 10 day zone.
I have decided to leave 2 weeks later this year. My start date is April 20th. Nothing special about that date, but I also learned last time not to travel out to the trail over Easter Weekend (which happens to be that weekend following my start date). Oddly enough since I plan on covering 43.4 miles a day though I will be finishing the same day as in 2007 if all goes well. When I realized this and remembered how cold I was in 2007 I added my warmie bottoms and a down vest to the mix. The AZT is definitely a land of extremes though so no sooner are you freezing than you are sweating in the hot desert sun. It really can be a mixed bag. For that reason I am taking my solar umbrella on this trip. For the desert sections this will be a huge benefit to be able to have portable shade. Keep me from consuming too much water, keep me in the shade while walking and at breaks and if necessary as a killer front door to my poncho tarp.
|AZT route and possible town resupply points ( I will use 4, but one isn't on this map)|
|AZT 1st segment (click to enlarge x 2)|
|AZT 2nd segment (click to enlarge x 2)|
|AZT 3rd segment (click to enlarge x 2)|
|Krud with Sonora behind him AZT 2007|