Day 41: The Shoe Eating Trail

April 12, 2021


What a lovely nights’ sleep! I was wide away by 5:30am (a late morning!) and decided it would be a nice treat for Ghosthiker if I could make us coffee in the full-sized coffee machine before she woke up. Unfortunately, even though I was as quiet as could be, there weren’t a lot of outlets to plug in the coffee maker because the cord was really short, I didn’t want to turn on any lights and wake Ghosthiker, and I ended up making more noise than I intended stumbling around in the dark. It didn’t matter because turns out Ghosthiker was already awake, so she got up to help me clear a space in the bathroom to setup the coffee pot. I made it extra strong by way of an apology. 

We enjoyed a slow morning drinking coffee in bed and chatting while occasionally watching the depressing news, then at 8:00am we walked down to the store to get coins and laundry soap so we could quickly do our laundry. I also bought two little breakfast burritos because by that point I was hungry. While the laundry ran, I went and sat on a bench outside the restaurant where I had two bars of WiFi and chatted with my Mom and my friend Kitsune for a while. Mostly my Mom, which was nice. I wish I could have called her but every time I tried it wouldn’t go through. I waved to familiar hikers as they wandered in and out of the store preparing to hike out. I saw Trash Panda and Loins of Arabia as they were hiking in and chatted with them for a bit. I haven’t seen them in so long, but it turns out they’ve been a day or two behind us for weeks! 

I went back and switched the laundry, pulling out the things that need to be air/sun-dried, and then met Ghosthiker halfway back across the parking lot. She offered to take our things to hang by our room and I went back to sit on a bench. 

Eventually, we were able to get our boxes at the tiny Post Office. I guess when I was arranging my resupply things I thought it’d be a good idea to pack denser food for this short stretch to Flagstaff because it was short and I would be carrying less food overall, and it wasn’t a bad call. My box felt too heavy but it’s honestly not a lot of food. 

Most of our bubble left Mormon Lake before us. I was packed up before Ghosthiker, which is a first, so I volunteered to go down to the lodge office to turn in our room key while she finished packing up. I have to say, the folks running the lodge (and the restaurant, and the store…pretty much the whole town) are extremely friendly and helpful. After turning in the room key and bidding them farewell, I went and hung out in the laundry room chatting with Cameron and eating a little boxed apple pie that was absolutely delish and just the sugar kick I needed when we finally set out around 11:30am. We met Willbo and Stumbles on our way out, which was nice. Haven’t seen them since Mt. Lemmon. 

It was easy going at first, but my feet were hurting pretty bad after just the first five miles, so we took a break. There’s still a decent amount of tread on my shoes but I think the soles are just done already. I’ve decided to call the AZT the Shoe Eating Trail (sort of like Charlie Brown’s Kite Eating Tree). I have new hot spots, and the bones in my feet are really hurting. It hasn’t even been that long since I got this new pair (slightly broken in at home, but still practically new), but I’m definitely getting new shoes in Flagstaff. I was practically limping by the end of the day and we only did like 12 miles and the terrain was mostly flat. There’s no way I’ll survive the Grand Canyon at this rate. It’s a shame, too. I’d heard good things about the Top Athletics shoes. I still like them and will probably buy them again, just not for a hike like this.

Thankfully, even though my feet were hurting, the trail was nice and shaded most of the day, so it wasn’t terribly hot. We even spent some time hiking along an old, abandoned railroad track that felt decidedly strange. Ghosthiker and I both agreed we felt very unnerved the whole time we hiked along this track; we’re pretty convinced it’s haunted. 

Creepy old railroad track ruins.
That’s not the trail. We’re off trail looking for the bow pond.

We had to go off trail and kind of search for the cow pond Railroad Tank at mile 546, and I had to back flush my filter after getting two liters of water. Then we found a flat spot to camp near the trail and by then it was almost 7:00pm. Pretty late for us. I ate in the dark, but at least I can cook my dinners again. Not sure how tomorrow will go, but we’ll be in Flagstaff early on Wednesday and plan to take at least one zero day there, so I’m pretty excited about that. 

Also, despite washing it twice now and trying to lubricate it per Sonics suggestion, the zipper on my tent is completely shot. Ghosthiker suggested I take it to an outfitter in Flagstaff and see if someone can help me fix it. Otherwise, I might be buying a new tent. I’m too aware of snakes and scorpions in Arizona to risk sleeping with an open tent. Shit. 

Day 42: Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh

Published by rogerssj23

I'm a long-distance hiker, an audiobook producer, and an amateur writer. I live in the woods in a renovated 1972 Airstream with my Golden Retriever Zoe. Read more about my hiking adventures at

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