Tucson woman takes on Arizona Trail; trek will last through May

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by Tami Hoey

Video report by Kaley O'Kelley

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 1:27 PM

PHOENIX -- Ever heard of the Arizona Trail? It's an 817-mile trail that runs from the U.S.- Mexico border to the Utah state line. It’s an imposing trek, and many people don't even know it exists. It was just completed in 2011.

While many folks take on various sections of the trail for day hikes, only a hardy few attempt to hike the entire trail at once. But Tucson resident Sirena Dufault would like to change that.

On Friday, Dufault, 40, began hiking the entire length of the Arizona Trail. She expects the trek will last until May 31.

She’ll stop at events at trail “gateway communities” along the way, and hikers can also join her for sections of the journey. But in other places, Dufault will be on her own. In doing so, she hopes to increase awareness of the trail and generate funding for the Arizona Trail Association.

On Friday's Good Morning Arizona, Dufault joined us on the phone to talk about the upcoming adventure. She said she's been very excited about the journey.

"I could hardly sleep last night, to tell you the truth," she told Kaley O'Kelley. "I've been involved with the Arizona Trail since 2007."

She says she's excited to see some of the wonders of our state up close, like the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park and the San Francisco Peaks.

"In 2008 and 2009, I actually hiked it in segments to raise awareness for fibromyalgia," she says. "This time I'll be doing it all the way through, as a promotion for the trail itself. I love this trail and I feel like Arizonans don't quite know about it yet."

She's also excited to share the experience, and is inviting others to join in at various stops along the trail. "I have 14 gateway events," she tells us. "As if hiking across the state wasn't enough!" Hikers, bikers and equestrians can meet up with her at the various gateway stops to enjoy live music, good food, and Arizona Trail Ale.

For more information about joining the fun or donating to the cause, visit aztrail.org/azttrek.

Dufault will be posting updates on her journey on the trail's facebook page.

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