Day 4 – 8/29/17
Schultz Creek Trailhead To Schultz Pass Tank
We had about 12 miles left of our hike at this point. We decided to split that 12 miles up into two 6 mile day-hikes with the cheap, $5 day packs we bought at Walmart. This way we could give our feet a break, recover a little, and not have to worry about rushing through the remainder while using the hotel as base camp. You know, enjoy ourselves a little more. It was all Agave’s idea, really. I originally wanted to hike Passages 31 and 32, around Flagstaff, which was why we ended up hiking part of Passage 34, because we left the Jeep at the end of Passage 32. The other reason I wanted to hike around Flagstaff was because a section of Passage 33 was closed off due to logging. So the Flagstaff bypass trail had a bypass trail, which was the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS).
So, the last two days, we hiked the last little bit of Passage 33 from Schultz Creek Trailhead to where it intersected with Passage 34 to the Jeep at Schultz Pass Tank. Then the last day, from Schultz Creek TH to the Karen Cooper trail of FUTS back to the hotel. It was all a success in the end and we had a lot of fun. And that’s all that matters!
We woke early that Tuesday morning at the hotel even though we tried to sleep in. We had the continental breakfast down in the lobby where they had a machine that made pancakes with the push of a button. It was pretty amazing. I made sure to eat plenty of carbs and protein. And coffee. Always coffee.
My Aunt Janet lives in the area, so she had reached out to me and we arranged a time for her to meet us so she could join us on this six mile day hike. The more the merrier. While waiting for her to meet us, I lanced and drained my blisters again with a sewing needle from a sewing kit Agave got from the front desk. Dirty business, but had to be done.
My Aunt picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the Schultz Creek TH. From there we hiked northbound to my Jeep at Schultz Pass Tank. It was a lot of fun hiking with my Aunt, and educational. She’s knowledgeable of the local vegetation, and we swapped hiking stories, tips, tricks, and ideas as we made the relatively easy stroll through the woods.
There was little to no incline through this portion of the trail. We were right around 8000 feet the whole time and the much lighter backpacks we carried made it that much easier. The hike took us about three hours to get back to my Jeep. We started about 10AM and were finished by 1PM, which was perfect timing to go grab some lunch in town. It was actually a perfect hike, because as soon as we were done, it started to rain. We got the best part of the day. I drove my Aunt back to her car at Schultz Creek TH and then Agave and I spent the rest of the day eating, drinking and being merry.
At first we attempted to go to a brewery I’ve heard good things about called Wanderlust. They were closed, so we went to Historic Brewing instead. The one on San Francisco Street with the upside down table hanging from the ceiling. It was kind of a preemptive victory burger and beer. I had the aioli burger and fries, and the Joy Rye’d pale ale. After lunch we made a stop at Target so I could get a charger for my fitbit. It had died and I was missing precious steps! Then we went back to the hotel to clean up, hung out for a bit, had dinner at the Denny’s right next door, then turned in for the night.
Before I turned in, however, I had to attend to me feet again. That little toenail, on the toe next to the big toe, that was protruding up away from the toe? Well it was worse after that day of hiking. Looking at it a little more closely, it wasn’t a dead nail that was falling off. A blister had developed between the toenail and the nail bed and was pushing the toenail up. I took the sewing needle and stabbed it between the toenail and toe and liquid immediately leaked out. It was instant relief as the toenail “deflated,” if you will. I eventually had to tear it off completely because it was only hanging on by the edges of the skin. But have to say, that was a first for me.
Day 5 – 8/30/17
Schultz Creek Trailhead to AZT Butler Ave Intersection
That Wednesday morning we woke up fairly early and had our continental breakfast. Oatmeal and protein. And coffee, of course. We went back up to the room and packed our stuff and loaded it all into the Jeep and checked out of the hotel. My Aunt came by to pick us up and give us a ride to Schultz Creek TH, where we would then head southbound back to the hotel where I left the Jeep parked with all of our stuff. She wasn’t able to join us that day, but that’s ok because she didn’t miss anything special. It was more like a walk through a greenbelt.
From Schultz Creek TH we made our way to the FUTS, which apparently was the Karen Cooper Trail, who was a City Council Member from 2000 to 2008. It was all paved, or maintained gravel, from then on. The trail took us through some nice neighborhoods with beautiful views of Humphreys right from their backyards. We followed it around Frances Short Pond and then down to Wheeler Park, which was a lovely little park inhabited with all kinds of vagrants, drunks, crackheads, and other useful citizens.
We then headed into the old Heritage Square area after rounding the new atrocity of the Hilton hotel they built down there. We found a brewery called Dark Sky Brewing. If you’re ever up that way, go to this place. It is worth it. We ordered some food from the food truck out back and sat inside and talked to the bar tender, the brewer, and some cool folks visiting from Prescott who there to collaborate with the brewery. I had the Blood of My Enemies IPA (because how could you not imbibe the blood of your enemies?), Ring Ring, Hello? and Cirrus NEIPAs. All delicious.
Once we had our fill of food and beer, we proceeded down to Route 66 and headed East towards our hotel. But we had to make another stop first.
We had to stop at Agave on principal because it was a running joke for the past few days. It actually wasn’t a bad place. Your typical Mexican restaurant. I mean, it was no Taco Bell, but it was OK. We ordered margaritas, because we needed some girl drinks. Mine had jalapenos floating in it and I had to trade with Agave (Chris, not the restaurant) for his mango flavored margarita, because apparently I needed something even more girly. We ordered something called ceviche, which was shrimp cooked with the acidics from lime juice. It was delicious.
So that was it. We finally tried out Agave, walked back to the hotel, climbed in the Jeep and I drove us back to Chris’ car at Gooseberry Springs Trailhead. We said goodbye and drove home. I took Stoneman Lake Road, which was a pretty nice drive through the woods, especially since it just rained and there was a mist hanging over the meadows. I stopped at a pull off that overlooked Stoneman Lake Village and took some photos. It’s a serene little village that contours the lake and is surrounded by forested hillsides. I changed into a clean shirt and put on my sandals then drove home.