A day of two temperatures; I started in Flagstaff, up in good time to fit a run in, which meant I was subjected to almost the worst of the icy breeze that blew through, overruling in its own way any warmth that might have crept in from a bright sun. It was a little better by 9.30, when I finished, but not so much that I wanted to stay outside. I had at least explored the hill that sites the Lowell observatory, which has a couple of walks decorated with galactic information, telling you (if you don’t run past) about the planets you can see. There are a lot of telescopes up there, too. Profound.
After lunch grabbed at Pita palace, which turned out to be another of Flagstaff’s many healthy eating places, rather than the fast food I’d expected, I was on the Greyhound to Phoenix – heading down to an altitude of just 1,000 ft. One of the many ways developed countries use their great experience of life is in giving themselves generous timetables; so my Amtrak train left late in both cases, but arrived on time or early, and the bus was 20 minutes late leaving, but arrived on time before 4pm. Phoenix was bathed in sunshine, and a warm 26 degrees for my stroll to the light rail.
Walk-rail-walk had seemed simpler than bus-change-bus, and it probably usually would be, but something was interrupting the service such that on one west-bound journey I had to change trains twice. It worked, though, and Camel backpackers came into sight after several blocks, brightly painted and lit up by the sun. The US is generally short on hostels, but those I’ve been to have been very good. The hostel in Flagstaff is fabulously located near the Amtrak station and has everything you could need, as well as being strangely quiet despite the number of people staying there. Some get up late and you don’t see them, others are up early for the canyon and disappear, while the kitchen seemed to be only occasionally used. Camel backpackers here is a lovely house, only room for 15 or so people, two of them had introduced themselves within five minutes and I’d been invited to head to the gun range with them.
I demurred, but cake and birthday celebrations this evening will do for an intro to the city. Much more the sociable hostel experience I’m used to, and I’m back – for perhaps the last time – to the temperature to which I’ve become used. Singlet and shorts to the ready!
I got out for a run, along windy 13th avenue, marvelling at just how nice a neighbourhood this is, and into Encanto park, only 500m from the hostel. It’s a small park but has a golf course as well, with the delineation between course and park not always clear to me. I’m fairly sure I did some low level trespassing, at any rate, as I ended up on a trail that was separated from the park section by a low fence, on the other side of which was a sign saying “no trespassing”.
But no one was golfing to care.
Reading: Bart Yasso, My Life on the Run.