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  1. #1
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    AZT (Arizona Trail) Thruhike Experience

    Anybody thruhike the AZT using a hammock?

    I've found some other inquiries from years past, but no post hike thoughts.

    Wife and I are headed out in early March, northbound, on the AZT.

  2. #2

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    Not a thruhike, but I have hiked several segments, some with a hammock (mountain regions), some with a tent (Grand Canyon). The trail runs just a few miles from my house in Tucson.

    This trail would be VERY tough to depend on a hammock for the whole length. For instance the section between Oracle and Kelvin, though not truly treeless, has nothing but scrub mesquite, palo verde and cactus, pretty tough to hang anywhere along this section.

    You'd be fine in the mountain regions. I've hiked most of the AZT through the Huachuca Mtns, where you will begin your hike, and plenty of trees there. It'd be a little sketchy in the Santa Ritas, as the AZT stays pretty low in several long stretches. Rincons are fine, Catalinas could be hammocked if you sleep in the right spots.

    I've hammocked a section of the AZT though the Superstitions, and pretty good hammocking there along the Reavis Ranch trail, but you have to get there from the Catalinas...

    The Grand Canyon prohibits hanging from trees, but Dehoja has hung from some of the picnic shelters.

    My recommendation: take a very low weight hammock and bring a pad instead of an underquilt, because you will spend ~50% of your nights on the ground. You can use a netless hammock to keep weight down, as mosquitoes aren't a big problem here. Be comfortable with pitching your tarp for ground sleeping, i.e. you may want a ground cloth as you'll get dusty.

    You are leaving early for a Spring NOBO. April 1 is the typical departure date, as the North Rim does not open until mid-May, and at a typical pace that's about 6-week hike from southern terminus. With a departure in early March you could start out with some substantial snow hiking depending on snow pack this winter. I'm not sure how much snow is in the Huachuca's right now, but there's already 6-8" in the Catalinas.

    That's what little info I can provide for you off the top of my head. Feel free to IM me or ask other questions you feel I might be able to help with.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Sounds like if there was ever a trip to plan on being forced to ground and needing a pad on some nights, this would be it. Double layer bridge hammocks are not the lightest(although using hiking poles as spreader bars gets you a dual purpose decrease), but they sure do work well with pads!
    Apparently, signature that I used from 2006 no longer tolerated so now deleted.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies guys. Much appreciated.

    Not sure if you have swayed me one way or the other kwpapke Originally, we had planned to just sleep on the ground, but we've used our hammocks on so many trails and so many miles. We may find ourselves carrying pads with our hammocks this time.

    It seems we are heading out a bit early, but some other plans are dictating the schedule on this one. Hoping we will see some spring flowers as well.

    Kwpapke, you had mentioned that the north rim of the Grand Canyon was closed. I assume that is just the facilities correct? That actual trail is not blocked, is it?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop View Post
    We may find ourselves carrying pads with our hammocks this time.

    It seems we are heading out a bit early, but some other plans are dictating the schedule on this one. Hoping we will see some spring flowers as well.

    Kwpapke, you had mentioned that the north rim of the Grand Canyon was closed. I assume that is just the facilities correct? That actual trail is not blocked, is it?
    If I was to do an AZT through-hike (and it is on my list), I would do it as I suggested with a very low-weight double-layer netless hammock, pad + pad extenders (e.g. ENO HotSpot), and my 8x10' SilTarp 2 for flexible coverage.

    You will see copious spring flowers, and you'll be trekking at the peak of the prickly pear and hedgehog cactus bloom in mid-April. You'll be too early for the Saguaro bloom in late May.

    Yes, just the North Rim lodge and facilities are closed, but the campground is open to winter campers throughout the season. For many through-hikers this is an issue as it is a primary re-supply point. You may also need good traction devices (crampons, or better Kahtoola Microspikes) for the snow coming up the North Rim. I've hiked the Canyon in February snow the last two years, and it is particularly treacherous on the descent if the snow is packed and icy.

    Good luck, and don't forget to write ;-)

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the helpful info. I'll report back in April if all goes well.

  7. #7

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    Well, he should be 1/2 done. Here's a blog post from someone who did just the southern 300 miles SOBO in a hammock:

    http://ramblinghemlock.blogspot.com/...ona-trail.html

  8. #8
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    Hey Guys,

    Currently, on the AZT and taking a zero in Flagstaff. We are at mile 575, having begun March 3.

    We hiked the first 300 miles with neo air mattresses and one hammock tarp. From 300 on, we have been hammocking. We bought a zrest and split in half (between my wife and i) and use that under our legs in the hammocks and have it as a backup for sleeping on the ground (which we have done once, since mile 300).

    At this point, if I were to do it again, I'd take the hammock the whole way and probably use either the zrest or a small neo air as backup. There is definitely some ground sleeping in the first 300 miles, but a lot of the washes have trees, so it would be a combo.

    It has been cold at night since we got up on the Mogollon Rim must North of Pine)... And that will probably continue. My warbonnet under quilt (20*)has been good, and so has my Katabatic 22* quilt, despite temps below freezing.

    If any one is interested, we have a blog at longdistancehiker.com, just click on the Arizona Trail link.
    AT 2011, PCT 2012, LT 2013, WT 2013, JMT 2014, TRT 2014, WT 2015, AZT 2015
    SweetPea and Beardoh's trail journals, tips, interviews - http://longdistancehiker.com
    My Long Trail Planning Guide with planning information, tips, etc - http://longtrailvermont.com

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