745-mile wilderness trekking route across the Southwest U.S.
The Grand Enchantment Trail is a 800 mile route that stretches from Pheonix to Albuquerque, traveling through twisting canyons and over remote mountain ranges. This trail is a challenging and engaging desert adventure that opened my eyes to the fun of long distance hiking. The GET is overflowing with expansive views, mucky cow water (water movie), wonder filled slot canyons, thorny bushwhacks, New Mexican green chili spiced resupply stops, hot springs, and a raw wildness that I couldn’t help falling in love with.
The GET was created by my friend, Brett “Blisterfree” Tucker. He has developed a thorough set of resources for the trail, and has put in a substantial amount of productive time flagging the route, and re-visiting & re-routing sections that needed help. He has allowed the route to evolve as land ownership issues, fires, and hiker feedback has pulled it in different directions. Blisterfree’s commitment to the GET is a constant inspiration, and is a good model for anyone hoping to create a route.
I discovered thru-hiking when I spent a month covering about 450 miles of the GET in the late Fall of 2008. I started at the eastern terminus at the base of the Sandia’s in Albuquerque a few days before my 29th birthday in mid-November. After a brutal but amazing first week on the GET I was hooked to the route and the act of long distance hiking. In mid December my allotted time for my hike had run out, and a storm had come in, pushing be back to civilization at the New Mexico/ Arizona border. I returned to the GET after my hike of the PCT in 2009, but had to leave the trail due to a knee injury (link to short GET movie about knees?). Someday I will head back out to Safford, AZ to walk the remaining 200 miles to Phoenix, and look forward to spending more time on this fantastic route.