“Yo-Yo” Hiking the Arizona Trail

Mare CzinarMarch 2019
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Photos courtesy Karts Huseonica and Paul Folk

At age 67, Art “Karts” Huseonica of Sun City is no slouch. The U.S. Navy veteran has spent his retirement years climbing mountains, hiking across the Alaskan wilderness, fighting through the jungles of Ecuador and floating the entire 4,200-mile length of the Amazon River. In 2018, the super-fit local legend resolved to become the oldest person to “yo-yo” hike the Arizona Trail – i.e. hike the entire 815-mile route from Utah to Mexico and back again in one calendar year.

Halfway through the journey, he was almost sidelined by a bum knee. “I’ve had knee problems… as the result of a mountain climbing accident,” Huseonica says. “My right knee kept getting worse until I needed a partial knee replacement. Because I wanted to complete the second leg of the yo-yo hike, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Cody Olson at Banner Health in Peoria accelerated my surgery date to allow me nine weeks of intensive rehab.”

Having completed the northbound leg of his hike in May 2018, Huseonica was determined to begin his post-surgical southbound journey in October. With a little help from his friends and fans, Huseonica stepped out onto the trail as planned. His record-breaking moment happened at the Mexican border on December
12 at 12:12 p.m., where he and a band of friends and supporters celebrated with a bottle of Champagne.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Huseonica has big plans for 2020. “I’m putting together a record-setting 2,000-mile adventure to canoe the Yukon River, source-to-sea. I’d be the oldest person to do this.”

on the Arizona Trail in the Rincon Mountains south of Tucson
on the Arizona Trail in the Rincon Mountains south of Tucson
Huseonica with his orthopedist, Dr. Cody Olson
Huseonica with his orthopedist, Dr. Cody Olson

IF YOU GO
ARIZONA TRAIL PASSAGE 17
Sample a bit of Huseonica’s epic trip on one of his favorite passages: Alamo Canyon.
LENGTH: 11.5 miles one-way
RATING: Moderate
ELEVATION: 2,360-3,800 feet
GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, travel east on US 60 to milepost 221 – located just before the town of Superior. About 0.4 mile past milepost 221, look for the signed turnoff for Picketpost Trailhead (FR 231) on the right. Turn onto this groomed dirt road and continue 0.2 mile to a “T” intersection – then turn left (east) and go 0.6 mile to the trailhead. aztrail.org

NEXT MONTH:
A former Green Beret spills on how to keep your ass alive on the trail.

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