Growing up in Flagstaff, AZ I’d always been aware of the Arizona Trail. I’d often run into the trail markers when I was exploring in and around Flagstaff. In 2008 I spent a couple weeks bikepacking southbound from the Utah border to Flagstaff along the trail with a friend. Upon our arrival in Flagstaff we decided to abandon the original plan of continuing south from Flagstaff.
As these types of things do I was never able to let go of my dream of one day completing the AZT in it’s entirety. This spring following the difficult year that was 2020 I made a decision to quit my job and once again pursue the dream of completing the AZT. This time I’d decided to leave the bike behind and do it on foot. A few short weeks after my last day at work I found myself belly crawling under a barbwire fence. Just south of the fence was a large obelisk with the number 102. I wrapped my arms around the silver monument and took a few pictures. To the south was Mexico to the North was the sky islands of Southern Arizona. I crawled back under the fence, and brushed the dry Arizona dirt from my hiking shorts. Ahead were nearly 800 miles of trail that traversed the varied Arizona landscape, The Arizona National Scenic Trail. The plan was simple, head north!