After our go at the Gros Morne Traverses, we found ourselves a little worn out of rugged, wild, barely-there trails. Especially when said routes cross bogs and other such fun things. We began to talk about our next adventure, and how our current locale has a very long winter (even for Canada). Wouldn’t it be nice to get in an early season hike, before the snow melts? Not on snowshoes! Sorry, I have done a little winter camping, enough to know that ultralight and winter don’t mix well – at least not in Canada!
A unique quality to the military life is the end of fiscal year. At that point our annual leave rolls over to a new year, and all of a sudden we have more. Some people have attempted to “save” their annuals from one year until the end of fiscal, so they can add them to leave days borrowed from the next year to create a mega-trip. It worked out for us to do that this year! So with a big chunk of time available, we began to look for a “fair weather” destination.
We looked at the Pinhoti Trail, the first few hundred miles on the Appalachian Trail, the Florida Trail, Ozark Highlands, the Lone Star, and even the PCT up to San Jacinto. (There were more shorter trails too). But none of them sat quite right. I liked the idea of a desert hike over a forest hike where the leaves haven’t come out yet. So we looked again at the beginnings of the PCT and I also threw out a question on the Arizona Trail subreddit: what’s the best stretch of passages to do if you only have a couple weeks?
The answer was “Vail to Superior”. So we watched some videos. And some more. And it started growing on my hiking partner. Over Christmas break we pulled the trigger on some flights and now we are set! We will be on trail over Easter, enjoying the sunny days of Arizona! This will be our longest trip yet – our previous longest trip was 11 days of hiking on the Great Divide Trail. This one we will be on trail 16-18 days (I built in some flex into our plan, depending on how we are handling the altitude and such). The plan is to cover over 186 miles. Given the choice between this or a standard all-inclusive in Mexico like many friends and family like to do, we much prefer this plan!
But here’s the best part: previously we snapped a lot of pictures, but we never really did video. This time, we have invested in a little videography equipment, and my wonderful partner will get to put to use her long dormant cinematography skills (she used to have a vlog on YouTube a dozen years ago). So keep watch for video once we get on trail!