Gearing Up for Arizona

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Saturday morning, home in Cooperstown, NY

I have three more nights in a bed before I stretch out this body in my one man tent somewhere in the Arizona desert.

Meanwhile I have just less than 24 hours to spend with my two kids and grandkids whose gathering in our home has been four of the best days in my life.  Tomorrow Scott and his family (plus Mrs. Terry) return home to Reno, NV, and Ashley flies back to her home in Orlando.  Two days later I fly to Tucson, AZ.

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Gearing up for Arizona.  Here’s what I’m taking with me.  My main two pieces of gear are my backpack and my tent.  My backpack has traveled with me for well over 5,000 trail miles.  It’s an Osprey 50 liter capacity pack that I bought for my AT hike in 2013, and it lasted me all of the 2,600 miles of the PCT in 2016.  It’s beat up, but it still performs well.  It is attached to me – attached with sentimental value, and attached with straps to my shoulders.

My other main piece of equipment is my one-man tent.  It is made by a lesser-known company called Z-Pack, and it was the shelter I used on the PCT.  It is made of Cuban fiber material, weighs just under one pound, and easily stuffs into my backpack.

I’ve decided to take my warmer and heavier of two sleeping bag choices.  It’s a Mountain Hardware brand bag that is rated to zero degrees.  I’ve chosen this over a lighter weight 40 degree bag.  Each of these seasoned bags probably have a warmth rating less than in their original form over the course of use and washings.  I have watched the temperatures of two southern Arizona locations to see that the overnight lows will be around 48 degrees.  I didn’t want to take any chances with being uncomfortably cold at night, so it’s the warmer bag for me.

I have a new Camelback reservoir unit for carrying the bulk of my water.  It’s a three liter model with wrap around hose that comes to the front for easy access.  I’ll also two one liter water bottles.  Finding water in the dry stretches, especially at the beginning of my hike will be challenging.

Speaking of finding water sources, my AZ Trail guidebook will be with me.  It lists the location of water sources and their reliability.  Together with my paper maps, I should find the springs and other surface water sources for replenishing my supply.  The guidebook also gives me information on the various towns along the way – some very close to the trail, others a hitch-hike or long walk away.  I have information on the grocery stores, cheap motels, public libraries (for their computers), and most importantly their restaurants.

The clothes that I carry will fit into a small pillow case.  One of this and one of that – in addition to what I wear.  This is where I compensate and do without for all the weight of five liters of water.

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It’s 6:30 am.  Baby Everly is up and needs to see her Papa.

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