Idea for hiking Arizona Trail got legs after Grand Canyon trek

Casa Grande Dispatch

by Bill Coates

Kent Taylor is the open space and trails director for Pinal County. He heads the county effort to develop regional parks. And connect them to other open spaces. It’s spelled out in a 2007 master plan. Of course, there would be lots of new trails.

To see how it all fits together, he has to be out there. He’s hiked all over the county. But starting in 2009, he went for a bit of extra credit. He hiked the entire state, Mexico to Utah, sticking to an 817-mile footpath known as the Arizona National Scenic Trail. He took it in segments. The first stretch was a tough one. The Grand Canyon.

“My son and I did a rim-to-rim hike in 2009,” Taylor said. They completed the 20-mile trek in a day, Memorial Day. Taylor, now 55, trained for it. He hiked. He biked. His son, Jarred, then in high school, did not train. Here was his reason: “I don’t need to train, Dad.”

After the hike, Jarred was not a happy camper. He told Taylor what every parent likes to hear: “I should have listened to you.”

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