Zen On Dirt

Flagstaff Laziness

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There seems to be some element of truth in the idea that people are either desert people, mountain people, or water people. I’d like to add a category: Forest people. Of course, I’m happy to allow for some overlap between the categories, but each individual seems to have a landscape that speaks to them, that they crave when they’re not in it. As someone who’s never lived next to any sort of big body of water, I’m definitely not a water person.

And trees just don’t really seem to do it for me.

While I appreciated and loved exploring the woods and rain forests of the Pacific North West last summer, (the Hoh rainforest was amazeballs!) I found myself craving the big views that only the desert and mountains can afford.

And after spending a week at the Grand Canyon and two weeks in Moab prior to that, the woods around Flagstaff just weren’t getting me all that excited.

But you know, this might be a good trick to have in my back pocket for recovery. Because instead of wanting to play more and more, I was actually pretty content to sit and work for the large majority of each day either in the shade of the trees or at the bagel shop in Flagstaff that had blazingly fast Internet. Or maybe it just seemed blazingly fast compared to what we could find at the Grand Canyon.

But before we got to Flagstaff, we stopped in Tusayan to work for a few hours. Scott had discovered a cafe that let you choose your own ingredients for a sandwich and charged the same price regardless of how many you chose.


I think we should call it the Dirtbagger’s Delight. I had to deconstruct my half of it and eat it with a fork.


We made it down to Flag with enough time to go for a little spin through the woods. I have to admit, after the punishing terrain that Moab has to offer, it was nice to cruise on smooth dirt trails for once.


It was perfect for two pairs of tired legs.


At one point in time during the week, we pedaled all the way up to Aspen Corner on the Arizona Trail to see if there were any yellow leaves left. We found some, but peak was definitely a few weeks ago. I, somewhat foolishly, followed Scott down a route that he knew from when he spent a summer in Flag. It no longer really existed, and someone, (ahem, me) may have thrown a fit about Doing Stupid when we were supposed to be riding easy.


This fit, of course, came from someone who wanted to hike Mt Humphrys the next day, the high point of AZ. I’m still not exactly sure how I talked Scott into it, his legs were still sore from our Big Ditch jaunt nearly a week earlier.


But I think he was pretty glad that we rallied for the hike. I was just stoked to get above treeline! We could see all the way to the Big Ditch!


It was far from warm, but I guess we were at 12,000+ feet, and it was mid-October. It felt good to get up a mountain, I feel like it’s been a little while since I’ve done that.


And with that, we bid our farewell to Flagstaff and tall trees. We were on our way to Sedona, where the landscape is dominated by red rocks, canyons, and the desert that I so love.

Plus the overall temperature in the state was dropping, so we could finally go lower after hiding out in the high elevation woods.

We’re just a pair of desert rats with a love for big mountains.



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