Display your love for the Arizona Trail with original jewelry handcrafted in Flagstaff. Backcountry guide and jewelry artist Ryanne Sebern has created a stunning line of silver earrings and necklaces with copper accents inspired by the AZT. She has also added stamped designs to appeal to hikers (boot print), equestrians (horseshoe), and mountain bikers (bike). Six different designs are available to choose from at the Arizona Trail Online Store. ATA members login to get a discount.
Whether you’re on the trail or around town, these fine pieces of wearable art are a beautiful way to celebrate Arizona and the AZT. Each purchase supports the Arizona Trail Association and a local artist. Order yours today!
Once you fall in love with these designs, check out what other nature-inspired jewelry Ryanne has to offer through her website Evolve Jewelry Studio.
Trailhead Talks with Senate Candidates Today
Please join us for two special online Trailhead Talks today with United States Senate candidates Mark Kelly (D) and Martha McSally (R). These one-on-one conversations will provide each candidate an opportunity to share their personal connection to the Arizona Trail and speak about the importance of public lands, outdoor recreation, and conservation. Join the conversation through Facebook Live with Mark Kelly at 12:30 p.m., and Martha McSally at 3:30 p.m. Not on Facebook? No problem. Just visit this page on our website for a Zoom Webinar link. As they seek to represent Arizona in the Senate in the upcoming election, both candidates will be asked questions about:
protecting public lands
improving access to public lands for underserved communities
supporting Arizona’s outdoor recreation economy
addressing climate change and minimizing impacts of wildfires
other legislative goals important to the outdoor community
These Trailhead Talks bring to the forefront issues that matter to the majority of Arizonans but are rarely talked about during a typical election cycle. The talks will be moderated by Arizona Trail Association Executive Director Matthew Nelson, who will welcome online attendees, introduce candidates, and ask questions. He will also monitor questions from the public (sent via email in advance of the event through the Contact Form at aztrail.org) and select relevant questions for candidates to answer. Trailhead Talks will be archived and available for viewing into the future through Facebook for those unable to attend during the live online events. The Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure – One Runner’s Story of Disappointment, Motivation, Marriage and Hope
by Jax Mariash
Running is an activity that has been part of my life since I was five years old and has always nurtured my soul. I have utilized running for fitness, to sort out my mind, figure out a work project, inspire the masses, set world records, gain a world championship title, and train for races.
Last summer, I had to take a break from racing around the world to undergo sixteen weeks of complex foot surgery and recovery followed by an eight-month hiatus. It was very humbling. That made 2020 a year to make a personal comeback! Then, all of my goals faded as COVID hit and it became a reevaluation of my relationship with running and my own identity.
During this time of great uncertainty, I created the goal to realize my multi-year dream of setting the supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Arizona Trail. I became obsessed with every detail, access point, daily mileage, and the logistics of assembling a crew. My plan to train for the FKT was to spend the summer months in a mountain getaway in Breckenridge, Colorado tackling big mileage and high altitude while getting up as many 13ers and 14ers as I could. And as it turns out, get married, too…another COVID re-arrangement!
As virtual events started popping up as a way to continue to inspire runners to maintain their goals, I decided to participate in two of them. One was the Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure that began on June 6 and became my motivation to tackle big miles all summer long. I figured it would be really cool to try to complete 800 miles through mountain adventures and then go hit the trail for the real 800-mile AZT all in the same year. I created a fundraising page for the FKT and was so excited to work with the Arizona Trail Association team to inspire folks to get on the trail.
This summer was magical in traversing mountain terrain during a three-and-a-half-month escape from the heat. I ran up 55 peaks and the most memorable of all was when I said my marriage vows on the summit of one!
It is a natural high when you hit the top of 14,000 feet and see mountains for hundreds of miles. My favorite peaks were La Plata Peak (14,360 ft.) for the views and steep route, Mt. of the Holy Cross (14,009 ft.) for the best views, and Mt. Emma (13,581 ft.) was the finale of the summer that was also by far the most technical for me. To cap off the 800-mile Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure I was excited to spend the last nine miles back in Arizona on one of my favorite local gems – Pinnacle Peak.
The Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure was a really fun way to support the Arizona Trail Association and keep me motivated to tackle the FKT next year. It kept me connected to my love for the desert, and of course the unexcepted change in our massive wedding plans to say our vows in the mountains was the icing on the cake.
Trail closures due to wildfires and border wall construction have thwarted my FKT plans for this year, but here’s looking forward to 2021.
Jax Mariash is a professional ultra-runner and is one of most decorated females in self-supported stage racing in the world. She was the first woman to complete the 4 Deserts Race Series Grand Slam Plus, and was crowned the 2016 4 Deserts Female World Champion. Learn more about her past accomplishments and future goals at her website.
AZT in a Day is Only One Week Away
Looking for an excuse to hit the trail next weekend for a good cause? Then please join hundreds of other Arizona Trail hikers, runners, mountain bikers, equestrians and others as we attempt to collectively traverse the entire AZT in one day on Saturday, October 10. We’re only one week away from the big statewide challenge, and still in need of participants. Could that be you, and maybe your friends and family?
Here are the segments yet to be covered:
Section 22B: High Jinks Ranch to American Flag - recently reopened!
Section 30: Kelvin Bridge to ATV barrier
Section 49: Brush Springs to Doll Baby
Section UR1: Sandy’s Canyon to Route 66
Section UR2A: Route 66 to Schultz Creek
AZT in a DAY is free and open to all, and a simple yet informative registration page can be found here. Pre-registering helps us monitor how many people will be on each segment of trail to avoid overcrowding. While some segments remain closed, we’re hoping this is the year we complete every mile of trail that’s safe and open for recreation.
For anyone participating in AZT in a DAY, we suggest writing down your itinerary and give to a friend or family member who isn’t out there with you. The itinerary should have directions to access points, a map, phone numbers of those in your group, and times for when you’re heading out and when you plan to be back. Then, be sure to follow up, and let your family and friends know you made it out. Let’s keep this event safe and fun and memorable for all.
Thank to your fundraising efforts and your continued support of the Arizona Trail Association we have already raised $44,657. Please help us reach out $50,000 goal by sharing your passion for the trail with your colleagues and friends. There’s an easy-to-use fundraising option when you register for AZT in a DAY.
Veterans Volunteer Work Weekends
On September 18-20, eight military veterans gathered near Flagstaff for a weekend of volunteerism and community building during the ATA’s first Veterans Volunteer Work Weekend of 2020. Similar events had been planned for spring and summer, but were postponed due to COVID. With new protocols in place, including limited group sizes, we were proud to host a three-day weekend with some truly amazing results. Veterans representing a variety of ages and terms of military service gathered near Marshall Lake to finish an important realignment project on the Arizona Trail. They worked hard to finish sustainable switchbacks to replace fall-line trail, moving rocks, obscuring stumps, and putting the finishing touches on a segment that had been in the works for years. Volunteers traveled from throughout Arizona as well as Las Vegas, NV and San Antonio, TX to participate, with veterans from Tucson and Phoenix leading the effort. In addition to the high-quality work done on the trail and the benefits it will provide all who use the AZT in northern Arizona, the weekend provided an opportunity for male and female veterans to connect in a safe environment. Time in nature, physical challenge, and sharing wartime and peacetime experiences with other vets is an important part of the healing process, and the ATA is honored to be able to offer these at no cost to anyone who can participate. Our goal is to offer these four to six times annually in various parts of the state. If you know a veteran who may be interested, please share the opportunity with them. Check out our Volunteer Website for upcoming opportunities and/or reach out to our Volunteer Program Manager by email at email@example.com.