Twig Adventures

2019 CDT & AZT Gear Summary

This is a summary post on my gear and stats from my 2019 thru-hikes, combining both the CDT and AZT, since I didn’t change a thing about my gear in between. In fact, I’ve barely changed a thing from my previous 3 thru-hikes. I carried a bit heavier gear in 2019, mainly because I expected some rain and colder conditions. I wasn’t wrong about this. The CDT is high-elevation and therefore a colder and somewhat wetter thru-hike. The AZT was dry but also quite chilly at times, given that we were above 8000 feet during many parts of the trail and also approaching the end of October / beginning of November. I needed my 22 degree quilt and women’s Thermarest[…]

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2019 Trail Angel Recognition

This is a special post to recognize the many trail angels and trail magic that made my hiking so memorable and cohesive. I’m truly blessed to have had so many positive interactions and made new friends. I’m amazed and humbled by the kind souls that exist out there. Someday I’ll write a book honoring trail angels and this year gave me so much material to work with. I’ve listed the trail angels and their magic by state. I don’t expect people to read every bit of this post but at least scroll down to the bottom just to realize the sheer magnitude of this kindness. I’m so sorry if I omitted anyone or their contributions, and that I didn’t get[…]

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2019 AZT Summary and Stats

For links to each of my daily posts, see here. I thru-hiked the Arizona Trail for several reasons. One, I said I would when I first learned of it while visiting my friend Jon near Phoenix at the end of 2018. Two, my friend Stellar planned to hike it and the timing worked out well for us to join up. And lastly, I wanted to hike from Canada to Mexico again. I finished my thru-hike of the CDT going southbound through Montana/Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and half of New Mexico…long story, see my CDT summary. So I finished this journey by hiking all the way south through Arizona. The CDT proclaims to be a 3100 mile trail but in reality, it’s[…]

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2019 CDT Summary and Stats

For links to each daily post, see here. What a strange, long trip it’s been. The CDT will go into the record books as the thru-hike that never stopped testing, frustrating, enchanting, and forever changing me. It was the best of times and worst of times, all wrapped into a long and incongruous season of hiking. To further prolong the magic, I went straight onto the Arizona Trail only a week after finishing the CDT in Grants, NM. I wanted to get the full experience of hiking from Canada to Mexico for the second summer/fall in a row but somehow fell a bit short in replicating that magical feeling I got at the end of the PCT. That trail was[…]

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AZT Day 34: The Hiking Season That Finally Ended

November 9th, 2019 Bathtub Spring mm 780.5 to USA-Mexican Border mm 788.6 Distance in miles: 8.1 0605-1220 (An aside, this long-overdue post is about my last day on the AZT and of a very long 2019 hiking season. Between the CDT and AZT, I calculated that I hiked around 3,500 miles. This is not including all the day hiking and short segments I did in Florida and Colorado, which probably brings my total to around 3,800 miles. I will follow up with summary posts but in the meantime, enjoy this last day, as I did). It’s very quiet overnight and I have one of the best night’s sleep, ever. I’m right about the condensation though. My tent hasn’t been this[…]

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AZT Day 33: Feet Dragging

November 8th, 2019 Canelo Hills saddle mm 761.8 to Bathtub Spring mm 780.5 Distance in miles: 18.7 0605-1540 What to do with a whole day on the trail when you have less than 20 miles to hike? Go on a side-trip. And we find a good one…a lake and marina store are just off the trail 6 miles ahead. I can get some easy water and extra snacks. We travel down from the saddle and past a few creeks. The temperature is perfect for a leisurely morning stroll. It feels weird to be going so slow after pushing pushing pushing for months. I guess I’ve earned a break but I really like moving all day and getting somewhere. It’s just[…]

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AZT Day 32: Canelo Hills

November 7th, 2019 Patagonia mm 737.4 to Canelo Hills saddle mm 761.8 Distance in miles: 24.4 0910-1750 We get packed early, so as not to alarm anyone that might be out for an early morning stroll. I take advantage of the public restrooms in the park, which are nice. We head to the Gathering Grounds for breakfast and I have biscuits and gravy. Then I get another plate of french toast. Both are delicious. We of course see Deb and Brent again, also having breakfast. They have been stewing all night about quitting their jobs and becoming thru-hikers. I’m a bad influence. I also fail to mention that thru-hiking has ruined me from caring about much of anything else in[…]

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AZT Days 30 & 31: Patagonia

November 5th, 2019 Casa Blanca Canyon mm 721.9 to Patagonia mm 737.4 Distance in miles: 15.5 0615-1100 There’s a 1000′ climb to start the morning and then it’s mostly downhill into town. The climb is nice because it offers good views of the sunrise and goes by fast. Once over the saddle, the trail quickly turns into a jeep road and then a wide gravel road all the way to town. I’m thankful for an easy time and we smash the miles. It’s also nice not to have to concentrate on my footing but instead gaze around at the views. The road is quiet except for a caravan of jeeps that don’t bother to slow down, despite us waving our[…]

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AZT Day 29: Grasslands of AZ

November 4th, 2019 Twin Tanks mm 688.4 to Casa Blanca Canyon mm 721.9 Distance in miles: 33.5 0615-1830 It gets chilly again overnight, seemingly because we’re camped near a water tank. Once we climb out of the wash, it warms up considerably. The day starts off in the desert scrub but we’ll climb into the Santa Rita mountains by the end, passing through some more enchanting grassy hills. There are a lot of little ups and downs but it’s very pleasant walking. These grasslands are not at all what I expected of southern Arizona and they’re a real treat. I almost feel like I’m all the way back in Montana. What a surprise to be walking in such different terrain.[…]

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AZT Day 28: The Vail Safeway Sidetrip

November 3rd, 2019 Mm 672.8 to Twin Tanks mm 688.4 Distance in miles: 15.6 0615-1845 I take my time packing and Stellar catches up. It’s only a few miles to a trailhead where we want to try to hitch into town. I need resupplies. We run into some day hikers and try to extract some local info from them, but it’s like pulling teeth. We ask which of the next 2 trailheads would be better to hitch a ride from. One guy says we should go back to the road to Colossal Cave because that’s the shortest distance to Safeway. Ok, for starters, thru-hikers don’t do negative miles unless it’s an emergency. We’re not going back the way we’ve come.[…]

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