The Arizona Trail
The challenge, or goal, of this project was a little different from the others. Whereas many of my other projects are based in personal behavior, social systems, home-scale agriculture, or urban design, hiking the Arizona Trail was the ultimate test of everything I learned. Did I have the discipline, skills, and willingness to walk 800 miles through the desert?
As it turned out, yes.
There wasn’t much on-paper design work to this. It was going to be a trial by fire. The goal was clear, the design would encompass my decision-making along the way, and the implementation would speak for itself. Such a simple structure!
Many gaps were filled regarding my permaculture education. It’s one thing to draw a rain shadow on a whiteboard. It’s an entirely other to be chased down a mountain by an impending storm cloud. It’s one thing to know water is important – it’s another to carry it, treat it, and be aware of how much you have every hour of the day.
It has made me aware of the level of interaction most people, including me, normally hold with the world of nature. There is something primal and cleansing about being with the sun from the time it comes over the horizon, to the colors of its descent, and then watching the moon track the same path in the sky.
At one point I chuckled as I realized that most people who are researching climate change are working in a humidity controlled, 72-degrees Fahrenheit room at any point during any season.
It felt an appropriate end to the diploma journey. Of course, six months later, I’m still putting together the pieces to show in some meager way to the world what is an incredible shining accomplishment in the pathway.
The Arizona Trail Association paid me to write a trail conditions report. I even threw in some bonus information.
“The less a man carries in his pack, the more he must carry in his head.” –Horace Kephart