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Mojave-Sonoran Trail Sees Second Thru Hiker

Congrats to Derek “Bear Magnet” Bowling for becoming the second person to hike the Mojave-Sonoran Trail! In January & February 2023, Bear Magnet hiked his own 360-mile version of the 625-mile MST, from Valley of Fire down to Lake Havasu, and then north back up to Laughlin, NV. While the MST still awaits it’s second finisher of the route’s entirety, this represents the largest chunk of the route that’s been hiked since I hiked it in 2021. Most importantly, this means more beta for YOU, the next Mojave-Sonoran Trail thru hiker!

Blue is the suggested MST route, Red is Bear Magnet’s route

Naturally, the more hikers who take on the Mojave-Sonoran Trail, the more refined this route will become. Fortunately, Bear Magnet was willing to share his experience on the route, along with his GPX file for comparison. For those of you considering hiking the MRT, you may be interested in reading his impressions of the route, notes etc.

The simplest way to pass Bear Magnet’s notes on to you is to share screenshots of our correspondence. Click on the images below for a larger and more readable version of the images:

The comment that stands out to me the most is this one:

I’ve been Thru Hiking a ton over the last 4 and a half years(over 11k) but this was the first one that felt like a true adventure!

More than anything else, this is one thing that I HOPED to hear as feedback from those who have, and will hike, this route. That’s why I created the Mojave-Sonoran Trail; to satisfy that craving for adventure, that many trails just lack. The best way to do this is to go to remote and beautiful places that few hike, plan something ambitious, and give it a shot. And of course, this is one of the only real options for a winter thru hike, for those seeking warm weather.

I was glad to hear from Bear Magnet and hear his impressions of the route. I was interested to hear what his favorite sections were, to see how the overlap with my own. And I was especially interested in what his least favorite section was. It sounds like it was the Warm Springs Wilderness area, which was insanely rocky and rather monotonous between Black Mesa and Lake Havasu Wilderness. This was one of my least favorite sections, as well. Coupled with some recent scouting trips to the area (from my camper van), I’ve been working on some alternate ideas to improve this section.

The Mojave-Sonoran Trail has so much potential, but could certainly benefit from being hiked a few more times, and along some variant routes to seek improvements. It would also be helpful to hear from more hikers like Bear Magnet as they take on this route. I’ve got some great plans for this route, but together with your help, I think the Mojave-Sonoran Trail can be truly incredible!

Read more about the MST: Mojave-Sonoran Trail Map & Guide

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