Woman Hiking With Dog in Phoenix Arizona

“We want to get people out to experience the entire length of the trail and set the record for participation in a single day to celebrate our first 25 years of existence,”

Ahwatukee’s Saron family will join over 1,000 other hikers, mountain bikers, runners, and equestrians in a combined effort to hike all 800 miles of the National Arizona Scenic Trail in one day on Oct. 12.

And people can still sign up for this first-time event that celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Arizona Trail Association, a non-profit group focused on protecting and maintaining the AZ Trail.  

“We want to get people out to experience the entire length of the trail and set the record for participation in a single day to celebrate our first 25 years of existence,” said Matthew Nelson, executive director of the AZ Trail Association.

 “This will be the first time a National Scenic Trail will be completed in this way,” he added.

Participants in the event can choose sections that range from 2.1 to 15.6 miles covering the state from north to south and including some of the most spectacular sights in the state such as two national parks, a national monument, national forests, and a state park.  

Brent and Linda Saron and their daughter Gwen, a Desert Vista High School senior, will be covering three sections of the trail together on Saturday. 

 Their 22.5-mile journey will take them from the Grand View Lookout to South Kaibab at the Grand Canyon on what is sure to be one of the more visually inspiring routes of the trail.  

Without the Grand Canyon’s inspiration in training for the event, Brent Saron said he focused on the chance to set a family goal – a challenge they could commit to and complete together.  

To train, he hikes the Pyramid Trail at South Mountain Park’s 19th Ave South/Pyramid Trailhead for elevation practice and the National Trail for mileage.

Brent said for beginning hikers looking for good trails to learn to hike are finding them increasingly crowded with mountain bikers, runners and hikers.  

He said that this creates a difficulty for new hikers in particular, as they must navigate around a steady stream of other users while learning to hike and getting comfortable on the trails.  

One interesting solution that he proposed is for the City of Phoenix to purchase the vacant Ahwatukee Lakes and Club West Golf courses and convert those to trails for mountain biking and hiking, perhaps alternating days for users.  

For those who want to participate in AZT in a Day, visit aztrail.org/events/aztinaday-2019, email karrie@aztrail.org or call 520-261-8460.

- Ahwatukee resident Andy Lenartz writes frequently on mountain biking and hiking for AFN.

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