Arizona Trail for Fibromyalgia

800 miles across Arizona to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia

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Updates

Posted by aztrail4fms on June 5, 2009 at 1:51 PM Comments comments (0)
Trying to catch up my journals that I missed from last year as well as continue the updates from this year. I just posted journals from November 12-13 2008 and March 31-April 1. These two trips are related, you may want to read the archived ones from November first.

Arizona Illustrated interview

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 29, 2009 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)
I was recently interviewed on Arizona Illustrated about my hike, here's the link:

http://ondemand.azpm.org/videoshorts/watch/2009/5/26/kuat-fibromyalgia/

Tiger Mine Trailhead to American Flag Trailhead- 9 mi. THE END!

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 12, 2009 at 9:29 PM Comments comments (0)
I finished the trail today on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day with a group of friends. I've now walked across Arizona. Celebrated with champagne and strawberries! I will post a more thorough account of today's hike soon. What an adventure it's been.


Tiger Mine Trailhead to American Flag Trailhead- 9 mi. THE END!

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 12, 2009 at 9:29 PM Comments comments (2)
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I am really excited to be able to finish the Arizona Trail on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! Last night, Brian and I stayed at Peppersauce Campground about 4 miles away from the American Flag Trailhead in Oracle. It was very strange in that there is a camp for troubled boys at the far end of the campground. People had to drive through the campground to get in and out of there, and there was a fair amount of traffic. Then, this morning at 6 am, we heard the very loud military-style chants of this group of boys for a solid half-hour. Thankfully, we were already up; otherwise it would have made for a truly rude awakening. The camp host drove by and chided me for sleeping under the stars, saying that there was a mountain lion in the area and that he'd seen it twice last night. I don't know if I believed him or if he was just trying to scare me. We met the rest of the group at the American Flag Trailhead at 7 am. Lee Allen is the leader of the Crazies trailbuilding crew that I work on. He hiked/bushwhacked the Las Colinas passage with me. Lee's wife Jan was there as well as Tom Kimmel, also from the Crazies. Mark Bleisch hiked with me in the Las Cienegas passage and also helped me out with some really obnoxiously long shuttles. Terri Gay just finished hiking the whole Arizona Trail about 3 weeks ago and she has been a great source of help in planning my hikes. Terri and I hiked/crawled through trees in the 4 Peaks and Pine Mountain passages together. I was excited to have a close group of friends and my husband along for these final miles. We shuttled two cars over to the Tiger Mine Trailhead. (I had to make sure my car stayed at the trailhead because it had the special celebratory goodies!) The view at Tiger Mine TH is so pretty, most of them had not been there before and we all enjoyed the view. You can see the Gailuros, San Pedro River Valley, the Black Hills, Antelope Peak, and the Catalinas. We took a couple of pictures, and started walking.

There was a little confusion as to where the trail went, and I had to explain that we'd be walking Tiger Mine Road, the road we had just driven for 1.3 miles north of Hwy 77. After we walked back to Hwy 77, there was a sign to take a really short culvert with a cowboy fence across it. "That's the trail?" Brian said. Terri and I just laughed at how many times we had said that same thing across the Arizona Trail. We all squat-walked through the culvert which had some really graphic pornographic graffiti. Classy place. Tom found a brown and white striped feather and I wore it in my hat the rest of the hike. The trail was really well-marked, probably the best-marked passage of the whole trail. In the Oracle State Park, there were big, red metal signs at every junction, and 4X4 posts along the way. This passage had a little bit of it all- roadwalk, utility corridor, and finally singletrack. The powerline road was a bit tiring, but it soon gave way to great trail. We could see the Rincons and Helen's Dome in the distance and also the Gailuros to the east.

We reached the Kannally Ranch Windmill in Oracle State Park. There was a little water in the metal troughs, but the whole area was swarmed with bees. I'd hate to need to get water there. We took a snack break under a shady tree in the wash. It was hard to believe I only had 4.5 miles of the whole Arizona Trail left. We talked about the fact that I have not seen a single rattlesnake on the Arizona Trail. Lee joked that they still had one last chance. I enjoyed the company on the hike, and I was so happy that Brian was along. It was good to have Terri there, since she'd recently gone through the torrent of emotions that follows completing a big goal as well. We lucked out with the weather, it didn't get above about 85 degrees and there was a refreshing breeze. We came upon two graves with female names and a dog named Whitey's burial. As we got closer to the American Flag Trailhead, there were large boulder piles with fantastic shapes. I could see the boulder formation that marked the end of my journey. We could see the Mount Lemmon Road, but the trail veered south to parallel the highway before making a final turn west to descend to the American Flag Trailhead. I crossed the road, touched the signpost on the other side and in doing so connected my steps 800+ miles across Arizona.

Everyone congratulated me on the completion of my journey and we took the requisite ending pictures.  I had a surprise for everyone for the end of the hike- champagne and strawberries! We toasted my hike and ate strawberries while relaxing in the shade. It felt amazing to have finished this epic journey. I am so lucky to have been able to have this experience. I have seen breathtaking deep canyons, high peaks, amazing sunsets, and more wildflowers than I'd ever imagined. I learned a lot about myself, including the fact that I am way stronger than I thought and capable of things I'd never imagined possible. I definitely got the grand adventure that I was hoping for.

 

Please continue to check back, I will be writing some post-hike entries as well as filling in the rest of the journals from late March up until today. (plus a few gaps from October) I will be appearing on Arizona Illustrated on Monday on Channel 6 at 6:30 pm and 12:30 am and also on the radio- check the homepage for air times. Oh, and the Backpacker Magazine article got moved back to sometime this summer. Also a reminder- I will be continuing to collect donations as I am doing some post-hike press. Please consider donating to the Arizona Trail for Fibromyalgia if you have been enjoying my website. Proceeds go to the National Fibromyalgia Association. Thank you all so much for following along with my journey!

Tiger Mine Trailhead to American Flag Trailhead- 9 mi. THE END!

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 12, 2009 at 9:29 PM Comments comments (1)
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I am really excited to be able to finish the Arizona Trail on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! Last night, Brian and I stayed at Peppersauce Campground about 4 miles away from the American Flag Trailhead in Oracle. It was very strange in that there is a camp for troubled boys at the far end of the campground. People had to drive through the campground to get in and out of there, and there was a fair amount of traffic. Then, this morning at 6 am, we heard the very loud military-style chants of this group of boys for a solid half-hour. Thankfully, we were already up; otherwise it would have made for a truly rude awakening. The camp host drove by and chided me for sleeping under the stars, saying that there was a mountain lion in the area and that he'd seen it twice last night. I don't know if I believed him or if he was just trying to scare me. We met the rest of the group at the American Flag Trailhead at 7 am. Lee Allen is the leader of the Crazies trailbuilding crew that I work on. He hiked/bushwhacked the Las Colinas passage with me. Lee's wife Jan was there as well as Tom Kimmel, also from the Crazies. Mark Bleisch hiked with me in the Las Cienegas passage and also helped me out with some really obnoxiously long shuttles. Terri Gay just finished hiking the whole Arizona Trail about 3 weeks ago and she has been a great source of help in planning my hikes. Terri and I hiked/crawled through trees in the 4 Peaks and Pine Mountain passages together. I was excited to have a close group of friends and my husband along for these final miles. We shuttled two cars over to the Tiger Mine Trailhead. (I had to make sure my car stayed at the trailhead because it had the special celebratory goodies!) The view at Tiger Mine TH is so pretty, most of them had not been there before and we all enjoyed the view. You can see the Gailuros, San Pedro River Valley, the Black Hills, Antelope Peak, and the Catalinas. We took a couple of pictures, and started walking.

There was a little confusion as to where the trail went, and I had to explain that we'd be walking Tiger Mine Road, the road we had just driven for 1.3 miles north of Hwy 77. After we walked back to Hwy 77, there was a sign to take a really short culvert with a cowboy fence across it. "That's the trail?" Brian said. Terri and I just laughed at how many times we had said that same thing across the Arizona Trail. We all squat-walked through the culvert which had some really graphic pornographic graffiti. Classy place. Tom found a brown and white striped feather and I wore it in my hat the rest of the hike. The trail was really well-marked, probably the best-marked passage of the whole trail. In the Oracle State Park, there were big, red metal signs at every junction, and 4X4 posts along the way. This passage had a little bit of it all- roadwalk, utility corridor, and finally singletrack. The powerline road was a bit tiring, but it soon gave way to great trail. We could see the Rincons and Helen's Dome in the distance and also the Gailuros to the east.

We reached the Kannally Ranch Windmill in Oracle State Park. There was a little water in the metal troughs, but the whole area was swarmed with bees. I'd hate to need to get water there. We took a snack break under a shady tree in the wash. It was hard to believe I only had 4.5 miles of the whole Arizona Trail left. We talked about the fact that I have not seen a single rattlesnake on the Arizona Trail. Lee joked that they still had one last chance. I enjoyed the company on the hike, and I was so happy that Brian was along. It was good to have Terri there, since she'd recently gone through the torrent of emotions that follows completing a big goal as well. We lucked out with the weather, it didn't get above about 85 degrees and there was a refreshing breeze. We came upon two graves with female names and a dog named Whitey's burial. As we got closer to the American Flag Trailhead, there were large boulder piles with fantastic shapes. I could see the boulder formation that marked the end of my journey. We could see the Mount Lemmon Road, but the trail veered south to parallel the highway before making a final turn west to descend to the American Flag Trailhead. I crossed the road, touched the signpost on the other side and in doing so connected my steps 800+ miles across Arizona.

Everyone congratulated me on the completion of my journey and we took the requisite ending pictures.  I had a surprise for everyone for the end of the hike- champagne and strawberries! We toasted my hike and ate strawberries while relaxing in the shade. It felt amazing to have finished this epic journey. I am so lucky to have been able to have this experience. I have seen breathtaking deep canyons, high peaks, amazing sunsets, and more wildflowers than I'd ever imagined. I learned a lot about myself, including the fact that I am way stronger than I thought and capable of things I'd never imagined possible. I definitely got the grand adventure that I was hoping for.

 

Please continue to check back, I will be writing some post-hike entries as well as filling in the rest of the journals from late March up until today. (plus a few gaps from October) I will be appearing on Arizona Illustrated on Monday on Channel 6 at 6:30 pm and 12:30 am and also on the radio- check the homepage for air times. Oh, and the Backpacker Magazine article got moved back to sometime this summer. Also a reminder- I will be continuing to collect donations as I am doing some post-hike press. Please consider donating to the Arizona Trail for Fibromyalgia if you have been enjoying my website. Proceeds go to the National Fibromyalgia Association. Thank you all so much for following along with my journey!

Tucson Citizen: Arizona Trail hiker bringing attention to fibromyalgia

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 6, 2009 at 11:37 PM Comments comments (1)
Article can be found at http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/115981.php

May 06, 2009, 5:42 p.m.
TY BOWERS
Tucson Citizen

When she set out to hike the 800-mile Arizona Trail last spring, Sirena Dufault worried that she might not finish.

The daunting trail stretches from Utah to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Dufault's concern stemmed from her decade-long battle with fibromyalgia, a little-understood chronic pain disorder.

"I was a little hesitant to publicize it because I didn't know how far I could go," Dufault said this week. "Now I can comfortably do a 15-mile day with a big pack, no problem."

Next Tuesday ? on national Fibromyalgia Awareness Day ? the 35-year-old will make a final, eight-mile hike north of Oracle to complete the trail, trudging from the Tiger Mine Trailhead to the American Flag Trailhead.

Dufault kept an online journal throughout her trek, which she made mostly by herself in one- to five-day trips. The May 12 leg marks the 80th day Dufault has spent on the trail.

She hopes her success will inspire the 10 million Americans suffering from the disorder, Dufault said. "There's not a whole lot of positive information out there about people getting their lives back after fibromyalgia."

Fibromyalgia's many symptoms include chronic, widespread body pain, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. Symptoms can stem from an acute illness or injury, as in Dufault's case. Her diagnosis came in 1998, a year after she was hit by a car as she crossed a street. For months afterward, even as her initial injuries healed, Dufault's pain and fatigue worsened.

"I saw her probably at her worse," said Angi Edge, a nurse and massage therapist who treated Dufault after her diagnosis and became a fast friend. "So many people give up on themselves. They become their disease. She was just not going to give up."

Dufault's pain has not flaired up in a major way in the last three years, she said. "I attribute that to being very, very active."

For her next big adventure, Dufault might hike the Tonto Trail in the Grand Canyon.

She walked 25 miles of the 90-mile trail this past winter.

Tucson Citizen: Arizona Trail hiker bringing attention to fibromyalgia

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 6, 2009 at 11:37 PM Comments comments (1)
Article can be found at http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/115981.php

May 06, 2009, 5:42 p.m.
TY BOWERS
Tucson Citizen

When she set out to hike the 800-mile Arizona Trail last spring, Sirena Dufault worried that she might not finish.

The daunting trail stretches from Utah to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Dufault's concern stemmed from her decade-long battle with fibromyalgia, a little-understood chronic pain disorder.

"I was a little hesitant to publicize it because I didn't know how far I could go," Dufault said this week. "Now I can comfortably do a 15-mile day with a big pack, no problem."

Next Tuesday ? on national Fibromyalgia Awareness Day ? the 35-year-old will make a final, eight-mile hike north of Oracle to complete the trail, trudging from the Tiger Mine Trailhead to the American Flag Trailhead.

Dufault kept an online journal throughout her trek, which she made mostly by herself in one- to five-day trips. The May 12 leg marks the 80th day Dufault has spent on the trail.

She hopes her success will inspire the 10 million Americans suffering from the disorder, Dufault said. "There's not a whole lot of positive information out there about people getting their lives back after fibromyalgia."

Fibromyalgia's many symptoms include chronic, widespread body pain, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. Symptoms can stem from an acute illness or injury, as in Dufault's case. Her diagnosis came in 1998, a year after she was hit by a car as she crossed a street. For months afterward, even as her initial injuries healed, Dufault's pain and fatigue worsened.

"I saw her probably at her worse," said Angi Edge, a nurse and massage therapist who treated Dufault after her diagnosis and became a fast friend. "So many people give up on themselves. They become their disease. She was just not going to give up."

Dufault's pain has not flaired up in a major way in the last three years, she said. "I attribute that to being very, very active."

For her next big adventure, Dufault might hike the Tonto Trail in the Grand Canyon.

She walked 25 miles of the 90-mile trail this past winter.

Press Release

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 6, 2009 at 4:48 PM Comments comments (0)
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Feel free to distribute this press release in your community:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Arizona Woman with Chronic Pain Eight Miles Away from Completing Fibromyalgia Awareness Hike on the 800-mile Arizona Trail

 

Tucson, AZ- May 6, 2009- In February 2008, Sirena Dufault began hiking the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile trail that crosses Arizona from its border with Mexico to the border with Utah. Now, Dufault, 35, has only eight miles left to go. She is hiking the trail to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia, a complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million Americans. Sirena developed post-traumatic fibromyalgia following an accident in 1997 in which she was hit by a car while walking across the street. The pain and fatigue worsened, resulting in her being bedridden for several months. Dufault began walking as a form of gentle exercise following her fibromyalgia diagnosis in 1998, and very gradually worked up to longer and longer hikes.

 

 

Dufault enjoyed the physical benefits of hiking so much that she decided to take on the 800-mile Arizona Trail. She is hiking to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia and is donating all proceeds from the hike to the National Fibromyalgia Association. ?This experience has been so rewarding and has given me a deep appreciation for the diverse beauty found in the state of Arizona.? said Dufault. ?And day after day of hiking, I found out that I am so much stronger than I ever dreamed possible. I want others with fibromyalgia to know that there is hope after the diagnosis.?

 

 

Dufault has hiked most of the trail solo in one- to five-day segments, but on May 12, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, Sirena will complete the final eight miles of the Arizona Trail with a group of supporters. They will start out at the Tiger Mine Trailhead north of Oracle at 7 am and hike south to the American Flag Trailhead, arriving around 11 am. ?I conceived the idea of hiking the Arizona Trail at this spot in May 2007,? says Dufault, ?so it?s fitting that my hike ends here.? To see Sirena?s blog, pictures, and videos from the trail as well as to make a donation, visit her website Arizona Trail for Fibromyalgia at www.aztrail4fms.org.

 

Contact: Sirena Dufault                                           

aztrail4fms@live.com

 

# # #

 

Press Release

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 6, 2009 at 4:48 PM Comments comments (0)
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Feel free to distribute this press release in your community:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Arizona Woman with Chronic Pain Eight Miles Away from Completing Fibromyalgia Awareness Hike on the 800-mile Arizona Trail

 

Tucson, AZ- May 6, 2009- In February 2008, Sirena Dufault began hiking the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile trail that crosses Arizona from its border with Mexico to the border with Utah. Now, Dufault, 35, has only eight miles left to go. She is hiking the trail to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia, a complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million Americans. Sirena developed post-traumatic fibromyalgia following an accident in 1997 in which she was hit by a car while walking across the street. The pain and fatigue worsened, resulting in her being bedridden for several months. Dufault began walking as a form of gentle exercise following her fibromyalgia diagnosis in 1998, and very gradually worked up to longer and longer hikes.

 

 

Dufault enjoyed the physical benefits of hiking so much that she decided to take on the 800-mile Arizona Trail. She is hiking to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia and is donating all proceeds from the hike to the National Fibromyalgia Association. "This experience has been so rewarding and has given me a deep appreciation for the diverse beauty found in the state of Arizona." said Dufault. "And day after day of hiking, I found out that I am so much stronger than I ever dreamed possible. I want others with fibromyalgia to know that there is hope after the diagnosis."

 

 

Dufault has hiked most of the trail solo in one- to five-day segments, but on May 12, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, Sirena will complete the final eight miles of the Arizona Trail with a group of supporters. They will start out at the Tiger Mine Trailhead north of Oracle at 7 am and hike south to the American Flag Trailhead, arriving around 11 am. "I conceived the idea of hiking the Arizona Trail at this spot in May 2007,"says Dufault, "so it's fitting that my hike ends here." To see Sirena's blog, pictures, and videos from the trail as well as to make a donation, visit her website Arizona Trail for Fibromyalgia at www.aztrail4fms.org.

 

Contact: Sirena Dufault                                           

aztrail4fms@live.com

 

# # #

 

Day in Flagstaff before driving back to Tucson

Posted by aztrail4fms on May 2, 2009 at 9:19 PM Comments comments (0)
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This morning, I was ecstatic to realize that I was not at all sore from yesterday's hike out of the Grand Canyon. What a testament to how far I have come. When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I had so much pain and fatigue that I sometimes found it hard to walk a couple of blocks. When I first hiked out of the Grand Canyon in 2001, I was sore for days. Today, I feel fantastic. Physically, anyway. I woke up in a funk because my current hiking trip is over and my Arizona Trail adventure is soon coming to a close. People keep asking me if I am excited to be finishing the trail, and the truth is that I am not. This journey has surpassed all my expectations. I was expecting to see beautiful landscapes but I had not anticipated how I would come to thoroughly enjoy and need the time by myself in the wilderness. I feel so comfortable outdoors and have gained so much confidence in myself through this experience. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

 

            My dad and I drove out to Snowbowl to see the view. There were ominous clouds in the air, which gave the whole area a feeling of mystery. It was 42 degrees at 9000 feet. We drove back to Tucson and it was almost 100 degrees. Welcome to the summer... My dad is in town for two more days, I am sad that he won't be here for the finale, but he has tickets to go to India to visit family. I need to write a press release and get everything settled for the last miles of the trail north of Oracle. Then this fantastic journey will come to an end. 


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