Twig Adventures

GET Day 6: Angels Day

Tuesday Mar 23rd, 2021, 0610-1730 Old Florence Road crossing to HWY 77, mm 123 24 miles In the middle of nowhere, we still had a pretty eventful day. First up was a pass by some neat boulder outcroppings. Our notes informed us that these are similar in composition to the ones found on the south side of Mt Lemmon in the Santa Catalinas, more than 70 miles to the south. So how did these get here? Life’s mysteries. We took a break to clamber over some of them, making silly shadow puppets with the rising sun. Next we came to Freeman Road, where notorious Trail Angel Sequoia was set up in his RV. He’s been doing trail magic for spring[…]

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GET Day 5: The Big Hill

Monday Mar 22nd, 2021, 0630-1730 Gila River to Old Florence Road crossing, mm 99 27 miles The morning was pretty chilly and so I was glad to hike the winding trail built above the valley. It does a lot of seemingly silly up and down but this helps warm up muscles in the morning. It was still another 6 miles to the bridge over the river. Last time, I avoided the meandering trail by just walking the railroad tracks along the river. This was cheating and I would have felt lame doing it a second time. Plus the views up high were nice. Open pit copper mines are really prevalent in this area. A psychedelic Ocotillo delighted me with its[…]

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GET Day 4: White Canyon & the Gila

Sunday Mar 21st, 2021, 0700-1800 Picketpost trailhead to Gila River, mm 72 24 miles MJ was up at 5 am getting coffee and omelets made for several of us hikers. And she had us to the trailhead by 7 am. She really is amazing. After more reluctant goodbyes, we began the winding trail in the cool of the morning…a far cry from our afternoon start last time. The tall mass of Picketpost provided shade well into the morning, making for an easy climb into the canyon. This stretch heads into the White Canyon Wilderness area, which gives the Superstitions a run for their money in terms of scenery. This was perhaps my favorite stretch last time on the AZT…besides the[…]

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GET Day 3: Picketpost & The Purple Angel of Superior

Saturday Mar 20th, 2021, 0630-1220 Montana Mountain to Picketpost trailhead, then ride to Superior, mm 48 16 miles We were excited for this day as it was to be a reunion with one of our favorite Trail Angels, MJ, the maternal saint of Superior. We stayed with her in 2019, later appearing in a picture we took with her that made the final cut in the documentary Through The Great Southwest. This was a film produced by Darwin, a popular youtuber and thru-hiker, in support of the Arizona Trail Association. My friends and trail angels Anthony and Fiona, all the way from New Zealand, contacted me to say they had seen me in it…which was a surprise since I didn’t[…]

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GET Day 2: Montana Mountain

Friday Mar 19th, 2021, 0615-1900 La Barge spring to Montana Mountain mm 33 23 miles We got an early start to enjoy the cool morning hours of hiking. It was too cool as my toes stared to go numb from the condensation on the grass. We left trail 104 Lost Dutchman for Red Tanks Canyon trail. The going got a bit rougher as we headed up a steep, narrow canyon chocked with vegetation and boulders. We really had to look for the cairns and got off track a bit as the scant trail climbed high above the wash. Thorny plants grabbed at our legs and arms. This trail was not equestrian ready but it sure was beautiful. We came to[…]

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GET Day 1: Weavers Needle

Thu Mar 18th, 2021, 1230-1800First Water Trailhead, Superstition Mountains (Tonto National Forest) mile 0 to La Barge spring mm 1010 miles A half day of hiking was on order after a late and stressful night. We were all so sad for Laurel’s loss of her beloved Ceniso.  Stellar and I took adorable Tumas the dog for a walk and checked on Rusty the horse early in the morning. He was still pacing and calling for his stablemate but seemed ok physically. We had breakfast and did some last minute checks of gear. By 11 am everyone was in sync and ready for a car ride. The drive through the Tonto National Forrest was so scenic. We could see where the[…]

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GET Day 0: Phoenix

I usually include a short synopsis about the pre-planning and travel stages before a hike. I won’t go into too many details for this one though. Suffice it to say, there was a fair bit of planning, given the nature of this rough route. A lot of looking over maps, notes, and blogs, as well as making sure all that info was loaded into my new phone. I just switched phones less than 2 weeks before departing, which leaves me still trying to figure out the myriad of small details. It’s a bit much but since I also switched to a Verizon network carrier (US Mobile), I’m hoping to enjoy better service while I’m hiking. My backpacking gear has remained[…]

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Introducing the Grand Enchantment Trail

The Grand Enchantment Trail (GET) is a roughly 800 mile wilderness tramping route across the Southwest U.S., connecting mountains, deserts, canyons, and cultural/historic places of interest. Beginning in the Sonoran desert near Phoenix Arizona, the route meanders eastward, crossing unique and diverse Sky Island mountain ranges, the Gila watersheds, the pine-studded Continental Divide, and the southernmost Rocky Mountains, where it descends dramatically to the outskirts of Albuquerque New Mexico at its terminus. The route incorporates about 70 miles of the AZT and 45 miles of the CDT. The GET was conceived of almost entirely by one man, a hiker by the name of Blisterfree.  He has spent countless hours researching the best trails and routes to piece together, carefully taking[…]

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