So a new adventure is in the making. Planning and research is expanding and contracting as we have our sights set on another thru-hike. While this one will be a “mere” 770 miles, we believe this hike will be quite challenging and will require orienteering skills and frankly “perfect” weather…for 8 weeks. Because of family obligations we will not set out until just after Easter 2017. Our quest is to hike the Grand Enchantment Trail , the GET for short. This technically, is NOT specifically a singular trail like the PCT or the AT, but more of a route (39 segments) that are strung together with already established foot trails (425 miles), 2 and 4WD dirt roads (145 miles), some cross-country “bushwhacking”(85 miles), and paved roads (30 miles) from one end of the Sonoran Desert National Monument (776 sq miles) just west of Phoenix Arizona to the Saundra Peak Tram, just outside of Albuquerque New Mexico. The trail includes portions of the Arizona Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, and spans 14 mountain ranges and two “wet” deserts (Sonoran and Chihuahuan). It is a little traveled route, but I dare say worth the effort. When we went to visit my parents in Arizona during their annual plethora of doctor’s check-up appointments at the Mayo Clinic near Phoenix, we checked out the GET’s west-side trail origin in the Superstition Mountains of the Tonto National Forest, the First Water Trailhead. The Tonto National Forest has an amazing trail system, and had we been more knowledgeable about the area we would have hit the trail a little earlier in morning, and been able to do a longer loop type hike. The terrain and sights were not what we expected. I hate to admit it, but we pretty much thought of Arizona as mostly resembling the desert that flanks the I-10 through Palm Desert/Palm Springs in Southern California. We were wrong on sooo many levels, which was/is a good thing. The trail, of course is NOTHING like the PCT. It was rugged, and sparsely maintained, but is way better than having to dance around, between, and through pokey vegetation.
Nonetheless, the portion we walked was breathtakingly beautiful. It left us wanting for more. Thus, our research, planing, and more importantly training has begun so that our feet and legs are ready, and frankly as an added bonus, to drop more than a few lbs collected over this delicious holiday period. Damn you holiday sweets and libations! As long as our feet stay healthy, and we have no relapses of plantar fasciitus and/or Morton’s neuroma, I expect we will set off east-bound from the First Water Trailhead just after Easter. In between, we will keep you updated on our planning progress, gear selection, and getting to know the GET as best we can before we embark on another adventure, of which we are sure Mr. Murphy and his lovely spouse, Mother Nature will be sure to tag along.
Enough wondering about it (the GET), we might as well wander and find out!
I can’t remember if I mentioned this previously but one of the tips I was provided prior to the Arizona Trail which proved essential was bringing a comb and good tweezers as your weapon against the jumping cholla.
Yes, I remember the comb part. I’ll add the tweezers