So a few days ago I committed to an idea I’ve had for the past several months by buying a plane ticket to Tucson, Arizona. I am going to attempt a thru hike of the Arizona Trail starting March 7th! The reason I chose to hike this trail is because I have a time limit. I have the opportunity of going to graduate school for forest pathology at West Virginia University where I got my bachelors in horticulture, at no cost to me. This is simply something I can’t pass up. I will begin field work May 1st so this prevents me from thru hiking the CDT which is what I would have done this year otherwise.
Anyway! The freaking Arizona Trail. 800 miles from the Mexican border to the Utah border. The full length of the state. The trail goes through the Saguaro “forest,” the Superstition Mountains, Mogollon Rim, Flagstaff, the San Francisco Peaks, and then on to the crown jewel of the trail, the Grand Canyon. All of this is extra exciting to me because not only have I never been to the Grand Canyon, Arizona is the only state west of the Rockies I’ve never been to. I am starting the trail with my friend Bill Fucking Muarry who I met in New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail back in 2012. She will be with me for the first two weeks and then her spring break will be over. I also plan on meeting up with several of my PCT friends along different sections of this trail.
The desert of Arizona is home to many of the animals I really really want to see and photograph. Here is a list of the top critters I want to see.
1. Scorpions. I think they’re awesome and we have none in Ohio. This is good news to most of my fellow Ohioans.
2. Tarantulas. Come on! Its a giant freaking spider! That is amazing!
3. Rattlesnakes. Lots of them. Arizona is home to 11 different species of rattlesnake!!!
4. Arizona Coral Snake. Extremely venomous, extremely beautiful.
5. All the other snakes. I love snakes. You who know me know this. I was so stoked on the PCT when I found my top 2 snakes I wanted to see there, the rubber boa and the California mountain kingsnake.
6. Gila Monster. One of two venomous lizard in the world.
7. Desert Tortoise. Slow, chunky and cute.
8. Mountain Lion. In the day time and far away. Of all the animals in the United States the mountain lion is the only one that freaks me out. Though I know attacks are extremely rare, they are watching you, and I’ve had friends that were stalked for hours at night time. I do NOT want experience that. Give me rattlesnakes everywhere, tarantulas and scorpions crawling over me but no lion stalking please.
I’ll do a rundown of the gear I’m taking when my new backpack comes in! Until then, happy trails!