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[pct-l] PLEASE suggest a trail

Someone mentioned the Arizona Trail as a possibility for a "Long Trail
alternative."  The big problem is - it's not done yet.  When it is done,
which is supposedly some time around 2000, it will be a continuous 750 mile
trail from the Arizona border with Mexico to its border at Utah.  Current
difficulties in thru-hiking the route are many, but include the following:
sections which are currently incomplete include large tracts of private
land, waterless country, miles-long fenced-off areas (requiring a lateral
search for a gate or some such), or a combination of all three dilemmas.
2) no detailed guide exists to the portions of trail which are open, and
the maps and summaries which the AZT association does provide are of little
use in the field; they must be supplemented with USGS quads, if for no other
reason than to locate water sources which are frequently off-route.
3) the seasons don't unfold favorable for a continuous hike in either the
N-S or S-N direction.  Late winter-early spring would be ideal in the southern
stretches, but the Grand Canyon's north rim is under snow until May, when 
you'd likely be arriving there.  Wait until mid-Spring to start, and the
water sources will be drying up in the south.  
  The north-to-south direction, sans deep snow in places, means waiting
until late spring-early summer, and hiking into the Sonoran desert during
the monsoon, replete with dangerous lightning and little cover.
  Of course, the advantages of trying this decidely arduous and pioneering
adventure are there, too... plenty of solitude, lack of the overuse syndrome
plagueing other long trails, gorgeous and varied scenery, and the sense of
accomplishment which must come in knowing you're among the first to hike this
trail.  I was going to attempt the AZT this year, but in the end, decided that
my "East Coast style" of "water management" wouldn't bode well for such a
parched place as Arizona.  May the PCT break me in in this regard, so that I
can get out on the Arizona Trail in confidence some day soon!
- Blister>Free, PCT '98
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