April 13, 2021
Thin Mints for breakfast! Good job, past Sarah. Way to think ahead. I kind of love that my metabolism has reached the point where I can stomach solid food in the morning. Even if it is cookies and other such garbage. Calories are calories!
We packed up by 6:30am and hiked 1.6 miles to the road crossing near Blue Ridge Campground trailhead, where we decided to try to hitch into Flagstaff early. We were both having kind of a rough morning, and with my tent zipper needing to be repaired or replaced, we were in serious need of an outfitter. It took about an hour, but we finally got a hitch from a really great YouTuber named Jim. He and his family are touring around the US in a skoolie and their channel is Sugar Bear Bus, so of course this led to all sorts of talk about skoolie renovation and logistics (because that was my plan for a long time, until I switched to a vintage Airstream), as well as operating a successful YouTube channel.
Jim took us to Snow Mountain River Inc. in Flagstaff, where the employees were super helpful. They took my tent and said it might take a day or two to repair, but that’s okay because we’ll be in Flagstaff until Saturday, at least. We’re going to arrange places to stay and slack pack the red trail (not the Urban trail) around Flagstaff, which will help us make better time/miles without having to carry as much food and water. When we finished at the outfitter, we went a few doors down to Campus Coffee House, where I ordered a breakfast burrito and banana bread and we sat at a table and sorted out the logistics for the next few days.
We ended up contacting a trail angel couple named Tim and Cathy Griffin about a place to stay and a possible ride back to the trail so we could get in a few more miles before calling it quits for the day. While we waited for them to arrive, Snow Mountain River Inc called and said my tent was done and ready to be picked up! What!? It had only been a few hours!
So, I walked back to the outfitter and had a lovely chat with the tent repair guy, who explained what was happening with my tent zipper and how to keep it working properly. Apparently, since it’s such a small, ultralight zipper, the slider body kept becoming more loose with time and therefore wasn’t tight enough to make the zipper teeth interlock properly (or at all, honestly). A simple pair of needle nose pliers fixed everything right up, which just means I may have to track down a pair during future town stops if/when the zipper starts acting up again. But at least now I know what the problem is and how to fix it, which means I don’t need to buy a new tent. Yatta!!
Shortly after I got back to the coffee shop, Tim the trail angel came to pick us up and take us to their house, where we quickly shed most of our gear in our separate rooms and then Cathy drove us back out to Blue Ridge Campground trailhead so we could slack-pack to Sandy Canyon. It was about 12:30pm when we started hiking again and we estimated we could hike at least 3 mph with the terrain being so flat and our packs so light, but the wind was so strong we could only manage 2.5ish mph and ended up hiking in the dark because I forgot my headlamp. We hiked by cellphone flashlights. It was an adventure. When it was pitch-black out, we started calling out “hey, bear!” just to be safe, but we weren’t really worried. In fact, we were having a good time and laughing a lot, and soon “hey, bear” turned into “hey, elk” and “hey, mountain lion” and “hey, creeper hiding behind that tree!” This whole day included a lot of laughing, not gonna lie.
When we finally got to the Sandy Canyon trailhead, we took a slightly wrong turn and ended up hiking to the campground, but we’d called Tim a few miles back and he was there to direct us. By then it was 8:00pm and we were exhausted. We’d stopped laughing and joking around several miles ago. My feet were in more pain than they’ve been so far on this hike and I was so exhausted I could hardly think or see straight. We’d originally planned to slack-pack a 19ish mile stretch tomorrow but decided halfway through today’s hike that we needed to take tomorrow off so I could find new shoes and rest my feet. It was a good thing we already decided that, because I was almost too tired to eat by the time we got back to the Griffins house. Cathy made chicken and dumplings and I could have eaten three helpings, but I was so tired I barely managed to get through one before I decided a shower and bed were more important. My feet and back were in so much pain that I almost cried when I went upstairs to put my pack down. I don’t really remember showering or even climbing into bed, but I guess I took this picture of a wall-hanging next to the bed? Hm.
I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.