AZT: Southern Surprises + 30 lbs

Written by: Grounds Keeper Ali Edwards

Undulating hills covered in golden grasses and mesquite trees. Vast expanses of low desert dotted with prickly pear cacti and blooming wildflowers. Steep climbs into sky islands covered with thick pine forests. Huge granite boulders, loose rocky descents, beautiful rushing streams, brilliant sunrises and sunsets.

Can you believe we’ve seen all this just in southern Arizona? This trail has it all! We’ve all been amazed at the diversity of the landscapes that we’ve already walked through.

The Arizona trail is an incredible experience. We’ve hiked 200 miles, so we’re already a quarter of the way through the trail! We made it to the town of Oracle and are taking time for some much needed rest and relaxation.

The Dads are doing great, despite going through some of the usual pains of thru-hiking — dealing with hot days, blisters, stiff and sore bodies, and occasionally getting lost. It’s been really fun for HoHo and I to share our passion of thru-hiking with them, teaching them all the tricks and tips we’ve accumulated from our previous hikes. A guy who gave us a hitch into one town asked us how we all knew each other, and I responded that my boyfriend and I were hiking with both of our dads. He asked with a laugh if the dads were chaperoning us. I chuckled and said- no not really, actually quite the opposite!

Overall, the team morale is still high. My dad, Van Geaux, has suffered the most from foot trouble, but his optimism is inspiring. Today I saw his feet, and stated the obvious: “You’re going to lose that toenail.” His response was “Well, it’ll grow back!” I’m amazed by his toughness daily. I’ve found there’s a pretty tough learning curve to this sport, but once you’re over it, it’s hard not to love every minute of this lifestyle.

Not much can prepare you for this type of journey. It can be physically exhausting to hike 15-20 miles per day, but also so much of the hike is mental. Both of our dads have two very important qualities in common which make them excellent thruhikers- stubbornness and an unshakable love for their children.

Also on this hike, I’m picking up any trash I come across on the trail as a Groundskeeper for Granite Gear. With the increasing popularity of thruhiking comes a greater impact on the trails, so it’s more important than ever for hikers to leave no trace. The trash collection has been a team effort. The dads point out trash for me to pack out as they come across it on the trail, and HoHo helps me carry it. We’ve packed out over 30lbs already! It’s added a fun element to the hike, knowing we’re leaving things better than I found it.

More stories and updates to come! Happy trails from Aqua Pops, HoHo, Van Geaux and Chicory.

Follow Ali @Trailin_Chicory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *