I am not sure how other people feel towards resupply boxes, but I found this to be the most challenging part in preparation. Trying to decide in advance what I would want to eat and what supplies I would need far in advance is rather overwhelming! I’ve read stories of hikers who pack the similar foods in each box and quickly growing tired of the monotony in variety. Even though the AZT is a much shorter trail, I did not want to grow tired of food! Additionally, how do I decide what trail town to send the box? It almost felt like throwing a dart at balloons at a carnival. In my mind, I won’t know how far I will hike for two days, let alone five or six, so how can I plan for 800 miles?! For these reasons, I changed my resupply plan multiple times. A few months ago, I joined the Facebook group ‘Arizona Trail Class of 2021’ and found two people post their personal plans (thanks Mac and Gary!). This was extremely helpful to me to understand how long a typical person can expect to be on the trail in between towns. I did some math (crazy right!?) and based on my easy day hiking mileage (14 miles) and my toughest (24 miles) I can do an average of 15-20 miles a day and hoping in an increase in mileage towards the northern terminus (where the AZT ends at Utah). Is this a stretch? Maybe, but I am stubborn.
Once I had the average figured out I was able to determine roughly how many days hiking at that average (20 miles) would take. For example, from the new Southern Terminus (mile 0) to Patagonia (mile 51) at 20 miles per day would take about 2.5 days. Again, only an example as I will not be hiking that far starting out!
So naturally as I am preparing my resupply boxes and finally decide on a plan and 90% complete the boxes, I find out about 33 miles of the trail (a section of the Four Peaks Wilderness between Roosevelt Lake and Pine) will remain closed through March due to the recent wildfires in 2020. Oh my frustration!! So I had a choice to make: do I hike to Roosevelt Lake and attempt to catch a ride around the 33 miles to Sunflower, AZ, or (thanks to Gary!) attempt a brand new route he created. Over the past two months, Gary scoped out the trails, added waymarks, and thoroughly mapped out the new “un-official” Cherry Creek Bypass Route. This travels East around the lake, a 130 mile trail that conveniently has three resupply areas, reliable water sources and follows roughly “45 miles of single track mixed with 90 to 100 miles of remote double track backroads”.
I’ve decided to go with the game time decision once I get closer to that area. You will notice I included these optional bypass towns on the resupply plan shown below, so I can have the box of supplies sent to either Pine, AZ or to Christopher Creek Lodge.
|Mile Marker||Trail Town||Box Number||Address||Days of Food Needed (20 miles/day)|
|51||Patagonia||1||General Delivery Patagonia, AZ 85624||3|
|119||Colossal Cave||2||c/o Colossal Cave Mountain Park 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail Vail, AZ 85641||4|
|198||Oracle||3||(name) General Delivery Oracle, AZ 85623||4|
|263||Kearny||4||General Delivery Kearny, AZ 85137||2|
|344||Roosevelt Lake||5||(name) General Delivery 18762 N. AZ Highway 88 Roosevelt, AZ 85545||5|
|463||Pine||6||(name) AZT hiker c/o THAT Brewery and Pub P.O. Box 90 Pine, AZ 85544||3|
|414 (Bypass)||Young||N/A||In-town Options||1|
|444 (Bypass)||Christopher Creek||6 (If bypassing)||1355 E. Christopher Creek Loop Payson, AZ 85541||4|
|538||Mormon Lake||N/A||Supplies inside Lodge||2|
|688||Grand Canyon South Rim||7||(name) General Delivery Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023||4|
|762||Jacob Lake||N/A||Gas station convenience store||2|