How long does it take to prepare for a thru-hike? A long time! I’ve actually been planning my Arizona Trail (AZT) trip for several months now, and it’s still two months away. I bought both the guidebook and the guidebook app, joined the Arizona Trail Class of 2019 Facebook page, read the AZT trail journals of people like Late Start and Hiking Dude – friends I’ve made while hiking other trails – and am currently sketching out my itinerary.
Itineraries, in particular, take a long time to draw up. I need to figure out about how many miles a day I’ll hike, and when I’ll be camping versus staying in motels. Then, since I’m still employed, I have to figure out how to move my suitcase (with my laptop and other essentials) up the trail so I’ll have access to it on the days I’m in a motel. My husband and son will be joining me at different times, along with some friends; more details needed re: where and how they’ll meet up with me.
I’ve also started gathering “stuff.” I’ve been purchasing Pop Tarts (breakfast), coffee packets and freeze-dried meals. Energy bars, jerky and dried fruit. After trying out an Enlightened Equipment sleeping quilt this past summer (my husband’s), I’ve ordered one for myself. I bought a cholla key off the Arizona Trail website because it was only $2, and who doesn’t want a cholla key?! (It’s for removing cactus needles, so hopefully I’ll never need to use it.)
I’m currently noodling over whether to purchase Crocs to use as camp shoes or Vivo Barefoots, which hikers say are lighter than Crocs, but more expensive. In my past, very limited, camping excursions, I’ve used open-toed sandals from Wal-Mart. But those allow lots of dirt and grit to get in, which is probably not a good idea when you’ll be hiking in the sandy desert.
So yeah, lots to think about. I hope I get it all done in time!