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’s a short distance into town and I’m looking forward to it! I want to eat all the Pad Thai at all the Thai restaurants. And also not smell bad anymore. We call ahead and get the last room at the Motel DuBeau. It’s operated by the same people that run the hostel (where I stayed last time I was in Flagstaff). It’s in a nice location downtown.
We take the urban trail into town (there’s also an equestrian bypass trail going way around the city). We see some early morning mountain bikers and runners. We also meet a couple, Shortcut and Ridgeroute, that are section hiking north to complete their AZT hike from the spring. They hiked the PCT last year and look vaguely familiar.
Once in town, we’re able to check into the motel early, ditch our 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 takes the rest of the afternoon.
We talk to James, the motel clerk, who gives us a great recommendation for dinner. We go to Dark Sky Brewery, where they have $3 pints for locals on Mondays. We of course pretend to be locals and get a yummy pizza to go along. We have desert at the place next to our motel…I get some creme brulee. By 9 pm, it’s already time for bed…first real bed in a week!
Day 9: October 15th, 2019
Mileage: a few walking around town.
As we were leaving Tusayan a few days ago, we contacted about 6 Flagstaff trail angels from the list posted by the Arizona Trail Association. We didn’t get a single reply so I had 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 we made it Flagstaff. I see this post while having dinner the night before and reach out to her. She responds right away and offers to host us.
So we’re taking a zero in Flagstaff. We have breakfast at the hotel, where we meet a couple from BC. They’re also hiking the AZT but the man hurt his ankle and has to go home. His wife, Camino Claire, will continue on. I’m glad to hear that she’s up for going solo and hopefully we’ll see her again.
I work on my blog all morning and then we go for pad thai lunch (no 2), this time at a different restaurant, just for variety. We walk around downtown some more, admiring the vibrancy. Flagstaff seems like a very livable city, with a great abundance of breweries, ethnically-diverse restaurants, and community events.
Sharon, the trail angel, meets us mid-afternoon and offers to show us around. She’s lived in Flagstaff for a pretty long time and is very involved in the community. We opt to go on a mural tour and suddenly a whole new aspect of the city pops out. Sharon has incredible insight into these murals since she got a tour of them from the artists themselves. Having the many details pointed out and explained makes them really come alive. We also check out some historic buildings. All the while, I’m feeling so lucky to be getting this private walking tour from a local. I’ve 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 go to the Mother Road Brewery for beers. One of Sharon’s friends is there, Mackenzie, and she buys us all a beer. We sit with her and her family, learning about the school system in Flagstaff. This is also a foodie town, so we try some delicacies from the nearby Italian pizzeria, Pizzicletta.
After all this, we hit another restaurant for a little bit of sushi. We try to buy Sharon’s dinner but she won’t let us. There’s talk of also going to the local observatory but everyone is too tired after food and beer. I’m ready for bed just after 9 pm.
Thanks so much to Sharon and friends for making our stay in Flagstaff so enlightened and enjoyable!