Senate candidate takes two-month trek up Arizona Trail

Payson Roundup (May 12, 2020) by Peter Aleshire

So, here’s an unusual way to prepare for a harsh political campaign: Hike 800 miles in two months through the Arizona wilderness — mostly all alone.

While you’re at it, throw in a torn ligament and bloody, infected blisters.

Hiking the Arizona Trail might not suit most political candidates, but it gave former Army officer and MedEVAC pilot Felicia French plenty of time to think about her campaign to win the District 6 Arizona senate seat.

Mostly, she says her arduous toil from Mexico to Utah on the Arizona Trail reinforced her faith in Arizonans — and the need to protect the vistas through which she hiked for future generations.

“While hiking the Arizona Trail, I was struck by the diversity of landscape and by the generosity of both locals, and fellow hikers from all over the world. When I was in a great deal of pain from a torn knee ligament, strangers gave me their last tablets of ibuprofen or offered me their knee brace. Sometimes ‘trail angels’ left ice cold drinking water, fresh fruit and other snacks at the trailheads, which I was especially grateful for on days when the temperatures soared near 100 degrees and I had to fight infected blisters on my feet.”

She observed, “The generosity of Arizonans that I met while hiking the Arizona Trail, and whom I’ve since witnessed come together to help frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable community members during this pandemic, gives me profound hope for the future of Arizona.”

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