Trading in Workin’ Boots for Walkin’ Shoes, AZT 2022
Back to the Trail
Some time has passed since my presence in this community. When I last wore the title as “thru hiker” I lay in a bunk bed in Mammoth California, June 2017. That was to be the last day of my PCT thru hike, lack of funds pulled me off trail; and a day doesn’t go by where I don’t miss it. Link to my PCT section hike video. https://youtu.be/g77R7MGuh_A
While I may have not been in the herd heading north, or south these last 4 years, I have continued a presence on the trail, dedicating my time to maintaining our public trails systems.
But, I’m trading in my workin’ boots for a pair of walking shoes. This coming spring, 2022 I am going to attempt a thru hike off the Arizona Trail.
Obsession to Become Reality
What prompted this need to walk? Well, I awoke from a deep sleep dream of thru hiking! A not too infrequent occurrence in any hiker trash’s life. Once awaking, I had the irresistible urge to hit the trail. Like many people, limited time and money made me ponder the possibilities. Limited time lead me to the Arizona Trail. From my time as a thru hiker, and years as a trail worker I have heard amazing things of the AZT, and what really attracted me to it besides its grand beauty, was it’s length.
800 miles end to end, a small task compared to the famous three, AT, PCT and CDT, but still beefy enough to truly become immersed in trail culture and community. Still plenty of miles to wear through some socks, burn the tip of your nose, awake in the cool mornings and stand among giants in the evenings. This trail has me hooked again…
Days passed on the Appalachian Trail
Back to 2013, Im laying in my dorm room bed, staring up at a map of the Appalachian Trail, tracing each inch of the map with my eyes, as if I were already walking north. I was obsessed. After a year and some change, I started my walk north from Georgia to Maine in 2015. Link to my blog for that hike, http://iamhikinghome.blogspot.com/
Fast forward 165 days, and I’m standing at the Northern Terminus of the AT, on the Katahadin sign, a thinner man, but with an eagerness for more miles that can be seen in my smile.
Preparing Mind and Body
Forward to Today. With the AT, a 900 mile PCT section, and miles of trail work done; I try to not melt in the winter rains of Oregon. I maintain physical and mental health with trail running and probably too many hours spent staring at my gear list on LighterPack.com
While counting down the days until I take my first steps on the AZT, I look forward to the people I’ll meet and the hardships I will inevitably endure. I hope to maintain a video series for this hike, nothing special, just some updates here and there. Along with that, some words written on the internet will suffice for a social media presence. For it is best to immerse oneself in the wild places, look up from your phone, and be present on the trail.
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Sam, best wishes to you for an awesome adventure on the AZT. I completed an AZT thru hike in 2021. I’ve hiked over 50 years and this was one of the most rewarding journeys of my life. Arizona has amazing landscapes and people. If anything like 2021, you’ll encounter lots of extremes…sun, wind, rain, snow, mud, and arid dry passages. When in Superior, take a zero at MJ’s. She is an awesome Trail Angel. You won’t regret it. I took a zero there with You Tuber Jay Wanders Out and Lady Who Waits. MJ is so incredible and a fantastic cook. She also has laundry and a shower!! Be sure to leave a donation so she can continue helping weary hikers. Tell her 800 Smiles sent you.