Day 8: October 14th, 2019
Moto/Chimney Trail Junction mm 194.2 to Cedar Ave off Flagstaff Urban Route mm 6.5
Distance in miles: 11
It was a short distance into town and I was looking forward to it! I wanted to eat all the Pad Thai at all the Thai restaurants. And also not smell bad anymore. I called ahead and got the last room at the Motel DuBeau. It was operated by the same people that ran the hostel, where I stayed last time I was in Flagstaff. It was in a nice location downtown.
I took the urban trail into town (there’s also an equestrian bypass trail going way around the city). I saw some early morning mountain bikers and runners, and also a couple, Shortcut and Ridgeroute, that were section hiking north to complete their spring AZT hike. They hiked the PCT in 2018 and looked vaguely familiar.
Once in town, I was able to check into the motel early, ditch my stuff, and head to the dollar and grocery store for resupply. Then pad thai lunch (no 1) and cleaning off the filth accumulated in a week. This took the rest of the afternoon.
I talked to James, the motel clerk, who gave me a great recommendation for dinner. I went to Dark Sky Brewery, where they had $3 pints for locals on Mondays. I of course pretended to be a local and got a yummy pizza to go along. I had desert at the place next to the motel…creme brulee, my absolute favorite. By 9 pm, it was time for bed…first real bed in a week!
Day 9: October 15th, 2019
Mileage: a few walking around town.
As I was leaving Tusayan a few days before, I contacted about 6 Flagstaff trail angels from the list posted by the Arizona Trail Association. I didn’t get a single reply, so I’d kind of given up on the idea of connecting with a local. Then I noticed that a lady had responded to a Facebook post I made, offering help once I made it Flagstaff. I saw this post while having dinner the night before and reached out to her. She responded right away, offering to host me.
So I took a zero in Flagstaff. I had breakfast at the hotel, where I meet a couple from BC. They were also hiking the AZT but the man hurt his ankle and had to go home. His wife, Camino Claire, would continue on. I was glad to hear that she was up for going solo and hoped I’d see her again.
I worked on my blog all morning and then went for pad thai lunch (no 2), this time at a different restaurant, just for variety. I walked around downtown some more, admiring the vibrancy. Flagstaff seemed like a very livable city, with a great abundance of breweries, ethnically-diverse restaurants, and community events.
Sharon, the trail angel, met me mid-afternoon and offered to show me around. She had lived in Flagstaff for a pretty long time and was very involved in the community. I opted to go on a mural tour and suddenly a whole new aspect of the city popped out. Sharon had incredible insight into these murals, since she got a tour of them from the artists themselves. Having the many details explained made them really come alive. We also checked out some historic buildings. All the while, I was feeling so lucky to be getting a private walking tour from a local. I learned so much more about the town in such a short period of time.
This experience is precisely why I try to meet trail angels in the towns I travel through. Trail towns are a part of the journey and I want to see them as places where people live and not just as places where I was able to eat, shower, and buy my resupply.
After the lovely and informative walk through town, we went to the Mother Road Brewery for beers. One of Sharon’s friends was there, Mackenzie, who bought us a beer. We sat with her and her family, learning about the school system in Flagstaff. This is also a foodie town, so we tried some delicacies from the nearby Italian pizzeria, Pizzicletta.
After all this, we hit another restaurant for a little bit of sushi. I tried to buy Sharon’s dinner but she wouldn’t let me. There was talk of also going to the local observatory but we were too tired after food and beer. I was ready for bed just after 9 pm.
Thanks so much to Sharon and friends for making my stay in Flagstaff so enlightened and enjoyable!