Doncaster man takes 53-day-long hike across Arizona in 800-mile trail
Doncaster Free Press (May 12, 2022) by Alex Wilkinson
Alan Tracey, who was born and bred in Doncaster, flew out to USA to complete the 800 mile Arizona trail.
An avid hiker, this was a challenge Alan had always wanted to complete, and after a gruelling but fascinating 53 days, Alan completed his mission.
From the Mexican border, to the Grand Canyon, all the way through to Utah, Alan managed to trek the whole way through Arizona in just 53 days, witnessing some incredible sights and places along the way.
“It is something I’ve wanted to do for a long while but I couldn’t because of Covid,” said Alan. “I took early retirement last November and so I had time to do it, because it does take a couple of months, it’s not something you can just do in a fortnight.
“I’ve always wanted to visit that area of America from being a kid.”
Now 62 years old, Alan has waited a long time to be able to do this trip and visit Arizona, but he has now got it done and it was worth every minute of the wait for him.
“It was absolutely fantastic, I really enjoyed it – it was really good.”
Alan said: “I got into hiking from a young age, spending a lot of time in the hills and just local as well.
“I just like spending some time on my own, it is a chance to reflect, and I love watching sunsets, sunrises.”
Being out in the hot climate of Arizona, Alan had to manage his water sources very well, sometimes having to carry water for up to 30 miles.
“Water was the main factor. There was sometimes 20 or 30 mile carries because there was no water sources whatsoever, and then when you did get to a water source it would be a cow tank – basically just a hole in the ground with muddy water,” he said.
He also had to manage food and carry food for miles on end, with his longest carry being from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon at 120 miles.
“My overriding memory would be the beautiful starlight at night, the crystal clear night time, the chance to be on my own,” he said.
“But I also met some amazing people out there, other hikers and trail angels, people that supplied lifts to people, left water catches at trail heads and different stuff like that – it was a great experience.”
The enthralling 800-mile journey saw Alan cross two national parks, including the Grand Canyon national park – which was something he had to apply for to gain access with a back-country permit.