PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona is one of the prettiest places in the world, and this weekend you'll have the chance to join people of all demographics in exploring our wondrous state.

Many who live here might not know that there is a trail, 800 miles long, that stretches across our entire state from the Utah border down to Mexico. It showcases the diversity of Arizona.

Dubbed the Arizona Trail, it's one of 11 national scenic trails. This was the brainchild of a Flagstaff school teacher back in the 1970s, and it came to life in the 1980s.

The Arizona Trail connects communities, mountains, canyons, deserts, forests, public lands, historic sites, wilderness areas and other points of interest.

Visitors can hike it, bike it or ride it and unplug from life's everyday stresses.

It takes a lot of work to maintain this trail. The non-profit, Arizona Trail Association, is raising money to repair and restore any wear and tear from over the years.

They're hosting a big event on Saturday, Oct. 12, called "Arizona Trail in a Day." Participants are asked to register to hike a section of the trail and donate. Each section ranges from 2.1 miles to 15.6 miles. The goal is to have every section hiked within that day while raising $200,000.

Bryce Brooks and Dylan Harris work at REI and are actually going to hike the entire 800 miles together. They're kicking off their journey with two sections on Saturday. They expect it will take them 32 days, at 25 miles a day, to complete it.

"It's life-changing. It really can alter your life. You have a lot of time to think out there while you're walking for 12, 14 hours a day. If we want that to continue to be available for people, the money is important," said Harris.

"The Woodbury Fire in the Superstitions and the Museum Fire up in Flagstaff both knocked out a pretty good chunk of the Arizona Trail. So, the funds we're going to be raising, a lot, are going to go towards repairing that and getting it ready for the use this season," said Brooks.

Valley mom Michelle Bernstein plans to hike a section in the Superstitions with her son, 7-year-old Blaine.

Blaine has a number of medical issues, so instead of having him walk the trail, she's carrying the 54-pound boy on her back.

She's anticipating their entire hike will take eight to nine weeks to complete.

Bernstein describes being in nature as a form of healing for her and her son.

"There are times where the trail has opened up my mind to what I want to do in life, and it has completely altered my course in life. And there are times where, if I'm having a crappy day in my personal life, I will go on the trail and I will feel completely transformed. And I think the same goes for him. If he's having a crappy medical day, we can go out on the trail and he just feels much better by the time we're done," said Bernstein.

If you would like to participate in Arizona Trail in a Day, you can see a map of the trail and register by going here

 


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