Today we were to continue after our stay at the hotel in Flagstaff. Since I didn’t want to miss the area around Flagstaff, we dropped off at Canyon Vista Campground and hiked a few miles, even some stretches I already knew.
Afterwards, the trail became particularly beautiful and rocky. The day was quite short though, as we left late and I didn’t want to hike too far to be able to visit the National Monument the next day.
Our start was delayed because the National Monument I wanted to visit didn’t open until 9am. This only meant a small diversions and $15 entrance fee for some more attractive trails and an interesting visitor centre with fresh water and toilets.
Shortly after that, the trail unfortunately became rather monotonous, even the section through Painted Canyon was rather unspectacular. After we crossed the first interstate, it was also very noisy for a long time.
Arriving at Highway 89, we found a petrol station where we had coffee and a slushie. After that, the road became much more charming and mountainous again. Our overnight stay was north of Flagstaff, after we had passed the 600-mile mark.
The night was very cold and there was a lot of snow on the way around the San Francisco Peaks. After nine miles we made a little detour to the Snow Bowl. The ski resort in Arizona – yes, really, even Arizona has a ski resort! There we had warm coffee and something to eat, and on top of that we got free Skittles. We besieged the restaurant until the afternoon and took the opportunity to recharge all our equipment.
This was followed by a long, snowy descent, which was a lot of fun, but also quite exhausting, as we kept sinking up to our waists in snow and had to get out of it first. We only went as far as we had to in order to find a good place to camp, which was to be next to a dirt road.
After what felt like a “Nero Day” the day before, today turned out to be a bit monotonous and dull. The landscape was by no means ugly, but the snow and strenuous walking had given way to a stony expanse with questionable and rare water sources. It was very windy and my thoughts often circled around the Grand Canyon and what would happen there with the closure of the trail.