It’s that time of year again for a retrospective of where I’ve wandered- and this one has been busier than most! You have been warned- it’s pretty heavy on the pictures. Grab a beverage.
When the year began, I was already neck-deep in planning my Arizona Trail Trek. It was a logistical Hydra coordinating the two and a half month schedule with 13 fundraisers, all the public hikes and backpacking trips, shuttles, media contacts, and a million little details. It didn’t leave a whole lot of time for hiking.
I did manage a Sabino-Bear loop and a trip up Agua Caliente Hill, always good choices for the colder months.
Umbrella weather in January on Agua Caliente Hill
In February, I hiked the Romero Trail to Romero Pass, a good workout along a gorgeous canyon.
Comfy seat at the waterfall campsite
Sunset lights up Samaniego Ridge
I also turned 40 in February and celebrated with a visit from my friend Kristin. We’ve been friends since I was 4 and lived two doors down. She still lives in the Chicago suburbs and I was so happy to get to spend some time with her at the High Jinks Ranch and in Oracle.
Me and Kristin
Out for my 40th!
On March 14th, I started my Arizona Trail Trek with a hike to the Mexican border and the kickoff event in Sierra Vista with food, music, and Arizona Trail Ale. A great beginning to an incredible experience.
Arizona Trail Trek Start
Mexican Border on the Arizona Trail
The rest of March was spent hiking north toward Tucson, with events in Patagonia, Arizona Trail Day at Colossal Cave Mountain Park and I even held and performed at a Belly Dance event at Sky Bar in Tucson. That’s got to be a long-distance hiking first!
Terry with River taking a rest on Katie
Jess Walker from Belly Dance Tucson
Arizona Trail Day hikers at the first big saguaros headed northbound on the AZT
My Arizona Trail Trek continued through April and May- it was quite a challenge and I am surprised that I stayed on schedule or early throughout the trip. I was so fortunate that I and everyone with me stayed healthy and safe throughout. I became a Trail Ambassador for Gossamer Gear this year, and was really happy with the way my Mariposa pack performed throughout my hike.
Boulders along AZT/Cody Trail
Camp above Ripsey Wash
Lovin’ the pass!
Micro Chicken crosses the Roosevelt Bridge
What a place!!
Just me and my llama
Happy to be in the cool pines!
What a great group!
View from the Dale Shewalter Memorial at Buffalo Park
Swooping singletrack through the aspen
Cedar Ridge with O’Neill Butte to the left
What a trail!
Tater Canyon, Kaibab Plateau
Tantalizing glimpses of Utah sandstone
Arizona Trail at Stateline Trailhead, Arizona/Utah border
It had been a dream of mine to thru-hike the Arizona Trail since I learned about it in 2007 and I’m so glad that my hike was able to bring wider recognition to the trail I love so much. I raised almost $18,000 for the Arizona Trail Association and I’ll be doing a series of talks in the new year, check out my Speaking page to find one near you!
I was pretty tired after my thru-hike, but I had less than three weeks left until I had to start my season working on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater. I had an incredible season- met a lot of wonderful people, hiked them all over the place, and told a million stories.
Comanche Point and Palisades
Incredible double rainbow over Diamond Creek Rapid
On the Arizona Trail on a boat!
Little Colorado Confluence
In case you haven’t heard, the Little Colorado River Confluence pictured above is threatened by a possible development with a tram and a restaurant right at the river’s edge- please visit Save the Confluence to learn more and sign the petition!
After my river season ended in mid-September, the inevitable crash came. I am usually pretty wiped out after river season anyway, but combined with the thru-hike my body and mind were exhausted. It was not a fun time and I couldn’t even bring myself to write about how depressed and tired I was. I didn’t feel up to doing anything, I just rested and wondered if I’d ever feel like myself again. The worst part of it all was that the fatigue reminded me of all those years ago when I was sick with Fibromyalgia and I was even concerned for a while that I was having a flare-up.
I had anticipated the crash, having done other extended trips, but this one knocked me down for two months. I still managed to get out a bit, and that helped to keep me going, although it was also a reminder of how incredibly tired I was.
Maples on Mount Lemmon
Windy Point Sunset
Finally, I started to get my energy back and the feeling of emptiness that depression brings waned. It felt great to be enthusiastic about the days ahead again. I traveled to Page for work and took a drive into the Grand Staircase-Escalante up Cottonwood Road. All sorts of great stuff to explore in that area. I hiked a peak I can see out of my backyard, Peak 3263 (or the southern end of the “Sombrero”, just to see what was up there. And then I did the classic Aspen to Saguaro hike from Mount Lemmon to Catalina State Park. Over 6000 feet of elevation loss through an array of different life zones. It felt great to be able to hike all day again.
Grosvenor Arch, GSEM
Sombrero and Panther Peaks from Peak 3263
Lemmon Rock Lookout
Looking out toward the West Fork and the Rincons
December brought a trip to the Cienega for fall colors and a backpacking trip in the Santa Ritas with some lovely ladies and Jasmine the Mini-donkey!
Cienega Creek Fall Colors
Antelope at Empire Ranch
Starting out at Temporal Gulch TH
Jasmine on the Arizona Trail
Mustangs in the Morning
Grassy trail with Josephine Peak and Wrightson
There was a winter storm in mid-December and I went out to play in the icy waters of Montrose Canyon with some friends.
Montrose Canyon 1st Rappel- Photo by Dan Kinler
Montrose Canyon- Photo by Dan Kinler
Montrose Canyon- Photo by Dan Kinler
I spent Christmas backpacking in the Tortolita Mountains, it was a great getaway close to home.
Christmas in the Tortolitas
I rounded out the year with a tough and spiny bushwhack to Bighorn Mountain, the last of the Pusch Ridge Peaks for me to summit. I’m going to be picking out spines for days, but it was well worth it.
Grassy shindagger and cactus-filled slope to the summit
Bighorn Summit- finally I’ve stood atop all four of the Pusch Ridge Peaks!
Well, that was quite a year! Thanks for reading- it’s always fun to share stories of my wanderings with others. I kept track of all my hikes on HikeArizona.com and my year-end stats are 1,021 miles hiked with 150,775 feet of elevation gain- that’s equivalent to 5 Mount Everests stacked on each other. No wonder this post is so long!
Here’s to a fantastic 2015- I’m not exactly sure what it will bring but I’ve got a feeling I’ll be exploring fantastic new places. Happy New Year!!
Thanks to all who donated to the Arizona Trail Association or to Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson this year!!
Donate to Wildlife Rehabilitation NW Tucson
Baby Great Horned Owls