Day 40: Flagstaff to Somewhere Between Walnut Canyon and I-40
Yesterday I took a zero day as planned. Cydney had her first hostel experience and then we went for breakfast at the highly recommended MartAnne’s, and it exceeded expectations.
We made a run down to Phoenix where I was able to make a few adjustments, such as bringing my hiking poles back onto the trail, before heading back up to Flagstaff. I got some more food, reconnected with a friend at REI, then had some dinner at Historic Brewing near the hostel. Upon my return to the hostel I ran into Gizmo who had just hiked 27 miles to be there, so I joined her in her exhaustion and dinner before calling it a day.
I had made plans with Hannah to head back to the trail with her where she’d join me for a few miles before heading back on her own way. We hiked down into Walnut Canyon where I shared my disappointment with the lack of scenic places to camp, partly because I just pass by some at the wrong time of day, and other times they’re just not there. With a pack loaded down in mass quantities of food, I was also very happy to have my hiking poles back.
The trail at this point had climbed onto the north rim of Walnut Canyon and occasionally showed a brief view of the deep canyon through the dense forest. The calm and quiet shade from the ponderosa pines provided a nice hiking environment for much of the afternoon for both me and the other day hikers and mountain bikers that were out. It eventually crossed the road to Walnut Canyon National Monument and began heading north, the late afternoon light beginning to struggle to stay above the junipers that were now taking the place of pines.
The sun began to set quickly as the weight from an extra amount of food was beginning to take its toll on my feet. The trail came out on a high desert ridge where I stopped and felt my legs and my feet say, "No more." It was a great place to stop anyway. I had a nice view of the San Francisco Peaks to admire as a few coyotes howled nearby.