Getting back to the trail while trying to avoid as much contact with other people is the goal. Because of the pandemic I am uncomfortable flying so I have elected to take Amtrak (Sunset Limited) from Houston to Tucson and then taxi/uber it to Patagonia (where I stopped last year). I am getting a sleeper compartment so I won’t be around other people but it does take 25 hours to go from Houston to Tucson.
So, slower and more expensive but… it’s a train! And train travel is infinitely more civilized than flying.
As late as a month ago there were two fairy sizeable trail closures because of fires last year. In late February the Bush Fire trail closure (AZT 354 to 387) was lifted. On March 2 the Bighorn Fire trail closure (from AZT 125 to 144) was also lifted. This means the only portion of the trail that is off limits is the 2 miles or so at the southern terminus (thanks to Trump’s wall) but I did that part last year so….. not a problem for me.
Arizona, and indeed most of the southwest, is in a major drought. So, the normally very dry AZT is even drier.
Change of Plans
I had intended to return and spend 6-7 weeks finishing the trail but, because of Covid, I have compromised and will only be doing 250 miles in two long sections (from Patagonia to Superior, just east of Phoenix).