A Look Back at 2018

It’s that time of year for a retrospective of the projects Trails Inspire has been a part of in 2018. We are so appreciative of the organizations we work with, such as the Arizona Office of Tourism, REI, the Town of Tusayan, Pima County, Visit Tucson, Wilderness Press, Gossamer Gear, Huppybar, Purple Rain Adventure Skirts and more!

Follow the links in the post to read more details.


Trails Inspire founder Sirena Rana Dufault likes to start the year out right with a backpacking trip, this year it was 40 miles from Picketpost Trailhead to Kelvin on the Arizona National Scenic Trail with her friend Wendy, volunteer coordinator for the Arizona Trail Association. One of her favorite parts of the Arizona Trail with spectacular views of rugged canyons and the Gila River. Ancestral lands of the Akimel O’odham.Arizona Trail - Gila River Canyons

At Winter Outdoor Retailer, we went to many informative panel discussions and events while catching up with friends and colleagues. The She Ventures event was inspiring and we really learned a lot from the panel on Indigenous connections to the land.

This has inspired us to include land acknowledgements in our social media and blog posts. For example, Trails Inspire is based in Tucson, AZ, ancestral lands of the O’odham and Yaqui. We use https://native-land.ca/ as well as other research to determine and acknowledge who’s land we are recreating on.

Indigenous Connections Panel - Outdoor Retailer
Indigenous Connections at Outdoor Retailer


Trails Inspire partnered with the Arizona Office of Tourism to do two talks on Hiking the Arizona National Scenic Trail at the REI Seattle flagship store. It was quite the change of scenery and the crowd was very receptive – many had been out to Arizona to hike before! Ancestral land of the Duamish and Puget Sound Salish.Hiking the Arizona National Scenic Trail Presentation- Seattle REI Flagship

Sirena was featured on Women Who Hike for Thru-hiker Thursday, it’s a great organization founded by Nicole Brown that connects women in the outdoors and shares their stories.

Woman with backpack stands next to sign that says Arizona National Scenic Trail, Buckskin Passage
Arizona Trail thru-hike finish at Utah border – 2014

Trails Inspire was subcontracted to work with Southwest Trail Solutions and Westland Resources on a trail layout project near the town of Superior. There is nothing quite like trail layout, observing and walking the land, searching for an aesthetically pleasing place to put the trail so that it will also be sustainable for generations to come. Ancestral lands of the Akimel O’odham.Superior Trail Layout


Trails Inspire partnered with Pima County, Visit Tucson and Liz “Snorkel” Thomas for Hike The Loop, an 80-mile, five-day hike along the four riverwalks and two greenways that make up Pima County’s urban trail system. It was a complete success, and garnered a lot of attention for the trail system.

Sirena closes the 80-mile Hike the Loop with Liz “Snorkel” Thomas

We opened the last day of the hike into the completion celebration to the public and it was so rewarding to take these people, many who had never hiked before, on The Loop. We even had Jasmine the Mini-Donkey and Leigh Anne Thrasher along! Please take the time to watch this video, it is one of my very favorite moments of the year. Liz and I got a lot of media attention, you can watch the highlights here.



Sirena joined the list of Badass Women of Tucson, a great series by the Arizona Daily Star. A reporter came out and interviewed her on The Loop.

More trail layout in Superior, finding a way through the rock formations and canyons.

Trails Inspire was featured on Coalition Snow’s Tacover Tuesday, where they invite women to talk about their businesses and the outdoors. Sirena was also featured on the She Explores blog: Blaze Your Own Trail, by Hailey Hirst.

180222_Sirena Dufault_008
Sirena Rana Dufault is a writer, public speaker and hiker. Photo Randy Metcalf, Pima County

The Tusayan Community Trails project opened a public comment period on the Master Plan for 45 days and a public meeting was held on March 28th.


Trails Inspire was featured on The Trail Show, talking about Hike the Loop.

Sirena gave a presentation “From Suburbanite to Adventurer”, about how she went from a clueless mall rat in Chicago to a well-traveled backpacker at Summit Hut’s Ladies Night.

Traveled to Silver City, New Mexico for Continental Divide Trail Days. Sirena gave her popular talk on Desert Hiking Tips and Tricks and sat on the Thru-hiker Panel. Ancestral lands of the Chiricahua Apache.IMG_1068


On May 5th, Hike Like a Girl Day, Sirena appeared on Rosie on the House, a home-improvement radio show that devotes its first hour to the outdoors in Arizona. We had a great time talking about Trails Inspire projects and the Arizona Trail.

The Arizona Office of Tourism and REI sponsored a Force of Nature event and Sirena was invited to speak. Though it was 100 degrees, it was an inspiring event at gorgeous Lost Dutchman State Park. Ancestral land of the Hohokam and Yavapai.Force of Nature REI Panel


Signed our first book contract! Day Hikes on the Arizona National Scenic Trail, coming in Spring 2020 with Wilderness Press. We can hardly believe it, such a dream come true. 26 of the best pieces of the AZT with lots of interpretive information and tips on hiking in the desert. The manuscript is due in November 2019.

We are excited to be partnering with the Arizona Office of Tourism on this project, they are providing support for our research and in turn we are writing a series of articles and social media posts that will be released closer to the publication of the book!

Arizona Trail Double Rainbow
Double Rainbow on the Arizona National Scenic Trail


The second half of July is all about conventions: first, the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism (AZGCOT), then Outdoor Retailer (OR) summer show in Denver. We gave a presentation on attracting tourists to your town through trails and the Tusayan Trails Plan at AZGCOT. A highlight was seeing author Roger Naylor receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and then getting to chat with him afterward.IMG_2900

Roger Naylor after he had accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award

We attended the Spark 2020 conference before OR, it focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and was a great opportunity to meet with others doing this work. Also got to meet some Instagram friends in real life like Jenny Bruso from Unlikely Hikers, Karen Ramos from Get Out, Stay Out and Ambreen Tariq from Brown People Camping. Ancestral lands of the Sioux, Ute, Cheyenne and Arapahoe.

Outdoor Retailer
Jumping for the outdoors at Outdoor Retailer!

At OR, Sirena sat on a panel celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act. Proud to be representing Trails Inspire and to be called on as an expert on the Arizona Trail and Gateway Community development.

Panel Discussion on the 50th Anniversary of National Scenic Trails
Panel Discussion on the 50th Anniversary of National Scenic Trails Act
Sirena with Grant Sible and Josh Garza from Gossamer Gear
Sirena with Gossamer Gear founder Grant Sible and Josh Garza from Ventana Media


Trails Inspire was featured on She Explores podcast, Because Trails Inspire and Sirena had a great time talking with Gale Straub about trails, adventures, and her background.

Did a Hiking the Arizona Trail talk at the Chandler REI with the Arizona Office of Tourism. They live streamed it and it was so neat to see people checking in from all over the world!



Outdoor Project included Sirena in their Women in the Wild series. The rest of the series has a lot of inspiring women, take time to read the other ones as well!

Trails Inspire signed the Phase 2 contract for the Tusayan Community Trails Plan, which will largely focus on environmental studies in compliance with federal NEPA regulations, tribal consult through the Kaibab National Forest and an interpretive plan for signage.

The Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Paiute, Hualapai, Zuni, White Mountain Apache and Yavapai Apache are all traditionally associated tribes in the Grand Canyon region. The proposed Grand Canyon History Trail will focus on their story as well as the history of tourism in the region. Tusayan Trails Master Plan Map - Public Comment


More book research, chasing fall colors on the AZT.

Fall color on the Kaibab Plateau
Kaibab Plateau Fall Colors

Attended the SHIFT conference in Jackson, Wyoming and got to meet other people doing work on diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. Also got to see the Tetons for the first time and was lucky enough to have Jaylyn Gough from Native Women’s Wilderness take me out to see the sunrise in the park. Ancestral lands of the Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone and Shoshone-Bannock.

SHIFT Emerging Leaders Program


The Arizona Office of Tourism sponsored a trip to Minneapolis and Sirena gave two talks on Hiking the AZT at the REI flagship location. Ancestral lands of the Dakota/Sioux and Anishinaabe.REI Minneapolis

Spent some of the month organizing the book research and photos that had been completed so far and writing.

Joined Women Who Hike for a group event at the Linda Vista Trail and Summit Hut. Fun to meet like-minded ladies!

Elopement Adventure Photographer
Women Who Hike  – Traci Edwards Photo


Held the Phase 2 stakeholders meeting for the Tusayan Community Trails Plan and submitted the NEPA proposal to the Kaibab National Forest. Excited to move ahead to the next steps of this project.

Headed down to the Mexican border to surprise Art “Karts” Huesonica at the end of his record setting Arizona Trail hike. He did a calendar year Yo-yo: hiked it northbound in the spring, and southbound in the fall, a distance of 1600 miles! Ancestral lands of the Chiricahua Apache.Karts AZT Yo-yo Finish

Looking forward to 2019 – finishing the research and writing of the book, and moving along on the Tusayan Trails Plan. Make sure you’re following @trailsinspire on Instagram for frequent updates on what we’ve got going on and thanks for reading. See you next year!

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