The Arizona Trail stretches 800 miles from the Utah/Arizona border to the Arizona/Mexico border, connecting deserts, mountains, forests, and canyons for a rugged wilderness experience.
From September 23 – November 5, 2017 I solo-hiked the entire trail. It was my second long-distance hike and my first official thru-hike, and it was unquestionably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
Now that I’m back home, I’m attempting another challenge: writing my first book, which will tell the full story of this hike and of my experience being a sober woman alone in the wild, especially one who didn’t grow up hiking or camping or doing anything even remotely outdoorsy or active.
In the meantime, you can click below to read the mini stories I shared daily on Instagram throughout the hike. Enjoy!
The Northern Terminus
Day 1: It’s 27 miles til the next reliable water source, welcome to the AZT!
Day 2: Baby’s first hitchhike! Sorry, Mom.
Day 3: Oh yes, there’s the low morale moment we’ve been expecting. Also, sun burn. Also, wind burn.
Day 4: Highest mileage day of my life/why is this the second year in a row that I’ve messed up the National Park camping restriction boundary thing/holy fuck the Grand Canyon
Day 5: Zero at the North Rim, where persistence pays off (towels, motherfucker!)
Day 6: The place beyond pain/what even is this glorious world
Day 7: 5,000 feet of climbing, with a side of melancholy nostalgia
Day 8: How much pasta is too much pasta? How many baths is too many baths?
Day 9: Water caches and wind and nocturnal demon sounds – oh my!
Day 10: Everything is agony/this is what you came for/feed it to yourself and grow stronger
Day 11: My left armpit smells worse than my right armpit. What?? I don’t even know.
Day 12: 200 miles and a level of exhausted emptiness that I have never known
Day 13: Some thoughts on adventure, privilege, and suffering
Day 14: Using tweezers to pick spikey thorny things from one’s gaiters/shoes/flesh (or: a terrifying preview of the southern half of the AZT, hooray!!)
Day 15: Hiker hunger and the excruciating joy of wanting something you can’t have
Day 16: Kate is here (!) and she brought me 64oz of chocolate almond milk (!!!) and this is the zero day of my fucking dreams
Day 17: Sooo, the water sources are now basically all just shallow ponds of liquid cow shit/algae/dead floating bugs. Why am I doing this hike again??
Day 18: Apparently I just crawl around in the dirt now? Awesome.
Day 19: Guns and bears and 75 miles of hiking in three days.
Day 20: They say that “the trail provides,” and I’m a believer now.
Day 21: Never not thirsty/where’s my machete (new tagline for the AZT!)
Day 22: Feral and bleeding in the Mazatzal Wilderness
Day 23: In the future, if I ever complain that something is too hard, please look me in the eye and shout, “REMEMBER THE MAZATZALS?”
Day 24: Don’t quit on a bad day
Day 25: Best $50 I’ve ever spent
Day 26: Six bowls of cereal and counting ⠀
Day 27: Throwing myself down the trail toward a seemingly impossible goal
Day 28: Omg, is that the highway? That can’t be the highway. Did I make it? I MADE IT!
Day 29: 500 miles/choosing courage over comfort
Day 30: The Life-Changing Magic of Sucking Melted Chocolate From The Wrapper
Day 31: The desert asks the toughest questions
Day 32: Dead bee water. Yum!
Day 33: My tan line game is so strong right now
Day 34: Can I just sit here all day and continue ordering food? Yes? Excellent.
Day 35: That can’t possibly be the trail. Straight up the mountain like that? With all those rocks? But of course it’s the trail. OF COURSE.
Day 36: The Wilderness of Rocks
Day 37: CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH
Day 38: Trading one discomfort for another
Day 39: The small things are the big things
Day 40: My next hike is going to be on a trail that’s totally filled with water. Is there, like, a National Waterfall Trail? Gimme.
Day 41: Flying down the trail/last resupply stop/51.2 miles to Mexico/holy shit holy shit
Day 42: Oh my god Adam is here and I am no longer alone and IT. IS. GLORIOUS.
Day 43: Alone again
Day 44: The Southern Terminus