Well, it’s hard to believe that we’ll be starting the Arizona Trail in a week! Even though we have had it in our minds to do this trail for almost nine months, it seems that our start date is rushing towards us.
We have been spending the winter away from snowy New Hampshire for the second winter in a row. Instead of snow showing all winter, we have been able to continue hiking in our short-sleeves in Mexico. We are lucky to be in a location with lots of hiking opportunities for Arizona Trail Training.
The town where we are staying is at 5,000 feet elevation, and the surrounding mountains go up to 8,000 feet. The elevation gain is made over just a few miles, so the trails are fairly steep.
Just to give you a sense of our physical training for the trail, we have hiked about two hundred miles over the past six weeks. A lot of that is up in the mountains, but some is on the cobblestone streets in town (good for strengthening your ankles, I suppose). Our longest hikes have been around 10.5 miles and contained some steep ups and downs.
In addition to being a beautiful spot to hike, the trails in our area have a lot of religious and cultural landmarks, with multiple shrines to the Virgin Guadalupe tucked into the mountainsides, traditional ceremonial grounds perched on a hill, and small chapels overlooking the town.
Hopefully this physical training will help us to have a strong start on the trail. We don’t expect any problems with the higher elevations at the beginning of the trail, since we have regularly been hiking up to 8,000 feet.
We feel pretty strongly that getting in the preparation miles is well worth it. Neither of us our crazy about getting our trail legs on the trail, so getting in the best shape we can ahead of time is optimal….and if we can replication some of the conditions (elevation change, trail difficulty,etc) – all the better.
We’re excited to get started on the Arizona Trail and to see what it is really like.