Day 43: First Zero in Flagstaff, AZ

April 14, 2021

Zero Day

I woke up really slowly this morning. I don’t remember doing it, but I know I got really warm during the night because I got up in the dark and opened the window. It was well after sun-up before I even thought about getting out of bed, partially because I was just so bone-tired and partially because the house was dead quiet and I didn’t want to wake anybody. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. Tim, Cathy, and Ghosthiker were all awake and downstairs, they were just being so quiet I didn’t hear them. This house must have excellent insulation. 

I was kind of glad I’d been awake for a while, though. There’s only one bathroom here and it’s on the first-floor right off the kitchen, so by the time I wandered downstairs I’d been awake long enough that my face wasn’t so puffy from sleep. I hate letting people see me like that. We spent the morning drinking coffee and chatting with our hosts. I apologized for being such a zombie the evening before and hoped I wasn’t rude or anything. Cathy said she was glad I was feeling better; she’d asked Ghosthiker if I was alright last night because it looked like I was about to fall asleep in my food. Yikes! One of these days I’m going to be hiking solo and won’t have a hiking buddy to look after me. I need to buck up! Cathy made us cinnamon rolls, then cooked us eggs, sausage, and toast. Then she gave us cookies and set up a foot spa with essential oils for me! We were definitely spoiled by these trail angels. We kept saying they didn’t have to do so much for us but they were insistent.

When we were ready to go, Tim gave us a lovely tour of the town, talking about the history of Flagstaff and the topography of the area. He took us to an overlook near the observatory, where we had a lovely view of downtown, and then to the local fire station which sits on top of a hill and also offers great views. He was even kind enough to swing over to the KOA so we could get our resupply boxes! 

The only photo I took today. It’s the view from the observatory parking area.

By the time he dropped us off near the Motel DuBeau it was almost noon and we were starving, so we went to a nearby Thai place. The food was delicious, but our server was very rude. They were definitely open for lunch (we double checked, just to be sure, because the place was totally empty, but he said they were open). It looks like Flagstaff still has mask requirements, so we gladly masked up to be seated at our table, but our server seemed irritated that we were there at all. It was very strange. He had two masks on and wouldn’t come within 6 feet of our table while he was taking our order, so it was kind of hard to hear him. He had to get close to the table to bring us our food though, so…yeah, we were kind of confused.

We asked him if it was really okay that we were there, and he said yes, but “you know, there is a pandemic going on” like we were stupid or something for even considering dining out. Um, yes. We know. That’s why we wore our masks and that’s why you’re wearing yours, right? What’s the point of opening up for business if you don’t want people to come eat there? I mean, it’s not like we were dirty hiker trash. We were showered and our clothes were clean and everything. It was really weird, and I was pretty upset with how condescending he was to Ghosthiker because 1) I still try to respect my elders whenever possible, regardless of how they treat me, and 2) if you work in customer service, be respectful to your guests or find another profession. Period. If he didn’t want us there, he shouldn’t have invited us in, especially if he was going to treat us so poorly. Oh well, at least the food was good.

We left with bellies full of delicious Thai food and decided not to let the experience bother us. We even left him a nice tip, since we were the only ones there and maybe he was just having a bad day? Who knows?

After that, we wandered over to the Motel DuBeau, where the owner Lisa let us check in early so we could dump our stuff in our room before heading into town. The Motel DuBeau is the cutest little place right in the heart of downtown Flagstaff. Legend says it used to be a brothel of some sort, so all the rooms face an interior courtyard and in the center is a small building with a reception desk, breakfast bar, lounge area, and kitchen where guests can cook, as well as a small room for doing laundry. We got a tiny room with a bunkbed set and no TV – perfect for us! We weren’t planning to lounge around much, anyway, just use the room for sleeping, showering, and safely holding our stuff during the days we’ll be slack-packing around Flagstaff.

Once we got settled in, we walked down to a place called Run Flagstaff where a very helpful and knowledgable employee named James helped me pick out some new shoes. I started this hike in Altra Lone Peaks (if you’ve read my PCT journal, you’re probably asking, “But Trooper, why!?” – trust me, I’m still asking myself the same thing.) and switched to the Topo Athletic Terraventure trail shoe. After much deliberation and a lot of help from James, I ended up going with the Altra Olympus 4’s, simply because they are the only trail shoes with a wide toe box and are the most supportive Altra’s available. Other hikers had only good things about them, too, so here’s hoping.  

A few doors down we decided to check out The Drinking Horn Mead Hall, which was awesome. It was decorated very sparsely, with a long table and a fireplace and viking décor on the walls. It felt like a hidden gem in a town like this, almost like something you’d find at a Renaissance Faire, but only for elite members or something. While we sat there resting and enjoying various types of mead, we decided to take another zero tomorrow. Even in new shoes and after almost a whole day off, my feet are still so messed up that it was obvious to both of us that there was no way I’d be able to hike 19 miles tomorrow, even slack-packing. I was worried Ghosthiker wouldn’t want to take a double-zero, but she actually jumped on the idea and was very enthusiastic about it. Once that was decided, we ordered mead flights (we weren’t hiking tomorrow, so why not? Lol) and went over our slack-packing schedule for the next few days, finding the best entrance and exit points that would let us split up the miles more evenly.

Feeling good (thanks to the mead) and getting more comfortable in my new shoes, we decided to hit a few outdoor gear stores and then went to get dinner at the Lumberyard Brewery, which was fantastic. Everything we got was delicious. We ordered way too much food and ended up taking half our meals back to our room with us, and shortly thereafter we crawled into our beds bed in our adorable little bunk room. 

Day 44: Second Zero in Flagstaff, AZ

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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