Lady on a Rock is a resource for hiking, health, and adventure. Christy Rosander has hiked the Sierra High Route, climbed many of the country's fourteen thousand foot peaks, and backpacked countless cross-country treks through the Sierras.
I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it. ~ Andy Rooney
Rincon Creek (Saguaro National Park) to Rincon Wilderness – 20 miles – AZT mile 146.4
Shadows of giants – the reward of early morning starts
Starting the 5,000 foot climb up Mica Mountain through Saguaro National Park
More flowers as we climb
Views of Rincon Valley from where we came
We made it to the top by lunch time. All the way from 3,000 feet to 8,000 feet. Manning Camp is a wilderness camp high in the pines. Just a couple of weeks ago the mountain was covered in snow.
Manning Camp station
We took an extra bonus trip to the top of Spud Rock. Views views and more views. Highly recommended.
Shenanigans at the top of Spud Rock.
Trail on the way down from Mica Mountain
Looking back at what we climbed today. I was spent at the end of this day, but what memories. Sunset on Mica Mountain – Saguaro National Park
Advice from a Saguaro. Stand tall. Reach for the sky. Be patient through the dry spells. Conserve your resources. Think long-term. Wait for your time to bloom. Stay sharp.
Hwy 83 to Ricon Creek (edge of Saguaro National Park) – 20 miles – AZT mile 126.5
After a hurried resupply at Vail we spent the night off the highway in a picture perfect desert landscape – the sunrise was a memorable as can be
Very early morning light
Lots of needed rules
Ya gotta love fun signs as a hiker walking
So healthy and standing tall! Such an amazing sight
My happy place
This small remote campground had running water, a picnic table and shade. All the things hikers love. We even cleaned up a bit.
What is this green trunked tree? It was everywhere in this section.
Walking in the heat of the day through green desert
“Desert sunsets. The sun and earth always seem larger. Wilder. Brighter. More demanding. More silent. Somehow more certain. “ ~ Victoria Erickson (Edge of Wonder)
Forest Road 231 to Hwy 83 – 16.6 miles AZT mile 106.6 and hitched into Vail, resupplied and got back on trail
Early morning and the cacti begin
Getting to lower elevations the plants are budding out
Greener and greener
And the Yucca blooms begin
We hit 100 mile marker of the Arizona Trail
It really does look like this for miles
Sunset in the desert
All the women. In me. Are tired.
~Nayyirah Waheed Poem
Gardner Canyon to Forest Road 231 – 19.6 miles (AZT mile 90) Plus 4 miles of accidentally getting off trail
Early morning hiking goodness – would ya look at the moon! at the
Sunrise over creek
Looking back at Mount Wrightson
Kentucky Home – an historical mining base and later cattle rancher home
Our only northbound travelers we have seen are bike packers from Australia
We got busy talking and enjoying this dirt road and missed a critical turn – 4 miles later we were back on trail – so stupid
This is an example of a good clear cattle tough for drinking water along the way. We used my Sawyer water filter to make it safe.
The Arizona Trail is a well-built and clearly marked trail
Town of Patagonia to Gardner Canyon – 21.4 miles (AZT mile 70.2)
Heading out of the town of Patagonia after a great night at the Stage Stop Inn with a shower
Rolling beautiful hills – views for days
Packs and clothing left behind
Our first barrel cactus
Lots and lots of gates to open and close – all with different latches
Mount Wrightson in Coronado National Forest
Forest walking – it was really quite lovely
We talked to Legend who is pre- hiking southbound to prepare for his Fastest Known Time attempt of the Arizona Trail
Every stream is running this year – such a treat
How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! ~ John Muir
Middle Canyon to town of Patagonia – 22 miles – AZT mile 51.1
Today was a get to Patagonia Town Day! We rolled into town at 4:00 pm, checked into the lovely Stage Stop Inn, ate, shopped, and showered. It was a very fine day.
5:00 am start allowed us to sit and enjoy the sun rise over the distant mountains
Early morning views
Crafted cattle gates
Reminds me of scenes from movies set in Africa
The gates are so cool – cattle country
“I’m a person of the mountains and the open paddocks and the big empty sky, that’s me, and I knew if I spent too long away from all that I’d die; I don’t know what of, I just knew I’d die.”
– John Marsden
Bathtub Spring to Middle Canyon (mile 31.1) – 23 miles
Today we were getting into groove of walking and had a cool breeze most of the day. The walking was gentle on rolling hills.
We saw our first people. Apparently it is bear hunting season and we experienced true fully equipped hunters. They were all friendly and informative.
Streams are all running, such a great year to hike this trail
Beautiful Arizona Trail sign
This water is colored just like glacier water. Fungus perhaps.
What kind of cactus?
Canello Hill walking
Up and over, it was fun just like little rollers
Life is a fatal adventure. It can only have one end. So why not make it as far-ranging and free as possible. ~ Alexander Eliot
Mexico Border to Bathtub Spring – 8.1 miles plus 3 miles getting to the border and plus 1 mile climbing Miller Peak
Trail Angel Scott shuttled us from Tucson to Coronado National Monument
Tour Guide striking her iconic pose on the hike to the Mexican Border
The shenanigans begin
Arizona Trail Southern Terminus
First Arizona Trail sign
First 8 miles of trail goes up 3000 feet to the top of Miller Peak
Top of Miller Peak
View from Miller Peak
Sunset view of valley below
Snow on north facing slopes
Ponder the path of your feet: then all your ways will be sure. ~Proverbs 4:25-27
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
My hope is to continue my tradition of writing a daily trail journal from my tent. I love sharing the diverse experiences and joy of hiking. AND… I always love reader’s comments. Your input, questions, and encouragement makes a big difference. Thank you so much.
If you want to follow me in real-time, I post regularly on Instagram. Instagram is a great way for me to share my outdoor photos and Insta Story videos where I am and what I am doing. I would love if you follow along. Just go to my profile page and click follow.
Be sure and not miss out! If you have not already signed up, fill out the quick form below to receive an email when a new post is up on Lady on a Rock.
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.
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.
GPS – Guthook Atlas App This will be my main source of info for navigation, water sources, and town information.
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
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.