The Arizona Trail Day 56: AZT and the City

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My tent was covered with frost this morning. Ahh, another lovely brisk day in northern Arizona! The chill was especially welcome since I only had 100 ml of water left, and in Arizona you’re out of water when you have 100 ml. You just saved a piddling amount of water to tell yourself that you’re not out of water when you’re actually already thirsty and want to drink it. There are, however, far worse places to be low on water than on heavily trodden trails just outside of Flagstaff. I think I’ll live another day.

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I started walking at 7:00 AM, early enough to avoid being seen by any disapproving trail runners. The temperature was hot by 9:00 AM – hey, don’t be a southern Arizona, northern Arizona – so I nixed my plan to visit Fisher Point before entering Flagstaff.

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Following the AZT along Walnut Canyon, I arrived at the urban trail junction, where a sign reading ‘Trail not regularly maintained. Use at your own risk’ marked the entrance to the nice dirt track. I think I’ll risk it.

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After a jaunt through the forest with a few ups and downs, the trail emerged into the city by a pond. A sign warned against using the water. Who would bother with Flagstaff right there?

I found a cheap motel near the AZT route. Flagstaff has hostels, but the private rooms in the hostels are actually more expensive than a budget motel, and I didn’t want to stay in a dorm with only my underwear to sleep in. Beside one of the motel doors, a sign read ‘Keep this gate closed’. Have I discovered a secret AZT route, or is a sardonic employee implying that tourists are like cattle? I don’t know which possibility is more fun.

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At the front desk, a young, lovey couple were ahead of me in line. I felt jealous – I wish that I had someone to split my bill with. Then he could sleep in a corner or something. The couple had just completed a hike in the Grand Canyon and the guy bragged for awhile to the front desk employee about how hard it had been; later I encountered him again in the hallway and he bragged some more. I mentioned that I would be at the Grand Canyon in about a week. He asked which trail I was going to hike. Umm… I don’t actually know which one(s) the AZT uses, so I just said that I was hiking the Arizona Trail. He said ‘I don’t know where the Arizona Trail is, but I’m sure it’s easier than the hike I did’.

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