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The Arizona Trail Illuminated

The Arizona Trail Illuminated
May 04
10:44 2017

The Page Library recently hosted a talk about the Arizona National Scenic Trail. The speaker was Sirena Dufault, a writer, public speaker and a woman who often speaks about the trial throughout Arizona. Her appearance was part of the Glen Canyon Lecture Series.

Dufault

A native of the Midwest, Dufault captivated her audience with stories about specific historic sites along the 800-mile trail that extends from Utah to Mexico.

“It was a really fun talk for me to put together,” said Dufault following her appearance. “All of the sites are so interesting and the venue (the Page Library) was so beautiful and the audience was really interested.”

Her favorite spot on the Arizona Trail, without a doubt, is the Grand Canyon.

“I am a Grand Canyon addict,” she said. “The history of the Grand Canyon area is fantastic. You hike along the South Kaibab and North Kaibab Trail to go rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon. As you’re hiking along you’re hiking on pieces of history.”

In the middle, as you come to the Colorado River, you are crossing the Black Bridge, which dates back 90-years!

“When it was built, they had a number of Havasupai men carry the cables all the way down the South Kaibab Trail. They carried these long cables all at the same time taking the cables down the switchbacks and having to take breaks at the same time.”

Dufault says to really get to know and have a real sense of the Grand Canyon, she first had to descend into it.

“That’s when my love affair with the Grand Canyon got started,” she told us.

She reminded us that when we stand and look at the Grand Canyon, we’re not seeing very much of it.

“You’re only seeing a tiny little slice of this massive place,” said Default. “You’re seeing one little tiny slice of a 277-mile long canyon. Then when you think of all the side canyons that come in, that have all their nooks and crannies that are beautiful; and waterfalls. It’s just a spectacular place.”

She told us she could spend the rest of her life exploring the Grand Canyon without ever running out of things to do and things to see.

Another favorite spot for Sirena is Reavis Ranch near the Superstitious Mountains east of Phoenix. It represents one of her favorite parts of history along the trail.

“Old man Reavis used to live on that ranch in the late 1800s,” she said. “He was kind of a rough guy even by the standards of the day. There are pictures of him riding his burrow into town to deliver fruits and vegetables. He was just a crazy-looking man with long ratted hair.”

Sadly, there’s not much left of the ranch, as some of the buildings burned down in the 1990s.

“You can still visit the orchard today,” she added about Reavis Ranch. “The apples are still giving fruit.”

Overall the trail is not all that rugged, according to Dufault, it just takes some tenacity.

“A lot of people who come to do the Arizona Trail are really surprised by how mountainous it is, especially in the southern part of the state,” she said.

In some areas it goes as high as eight or nine thousand feet. But there’s no need for any aids to get you up or down.

“If you need ropes for the Arizona Trail, you’re off the trail,” she said with a laugh.

Sirena says she is comfortable traveling the Arizona Trail by herself. It’s just a matter of being prepared, whether you’re a man or woman.

“Keep your wits about you, listen to that little voice inside your head and always have a back-up plan,” she advised.

Another thing to keep in mind when on the trail is there are numerous areas where cell phone service is lacking. As Lieutenant Brett Axlund has shared with Lake Powell Communications, it’s good to know that if your phone says “No Service,” call 9-1-1 anyway in an emergency. By law, any tower that received a 9-1-1 call must respond to that call.

Dufault always carries a satellite communication device with her. It’s called a Delorme inReach.

As far the Arizona Trail itself, for complete information you can find “Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail” online.

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