Yes, I really kicked ass yesterday. Today, I have maybe 50% range of motion in my knee, and it looks like a baseball is growing out the side of it. It's not truly painful, but very unstable, and I dreaded the descent of Humphreys. Due to the cold, I got a late start, angrily shutting off the alarm on my Garmin at 6am. I left camp at 9, determined to just get to the damned bottom and take the first road into town. There was to be no more fooling around with the knee from hell. I have a chance to rest, and I'm taking it.
And so, down the rocky-ass trail, dodging mountain bikes going both directions. The lava rock seems to have settled in as the primary trail obstacle in this part of the state, giving me plenty of ankle-turning opportunities to inspect the ground carefully. Thankfully, the thick forest remained for most of the day, and I could enjoy an actual forest hike for the first time in awhile. At the base of the mountain, the trail became more hilly than mountainous, the trees less dense and more uniform. My pace was slow and steady, my gaze transfixed on the ground when I heard more bikes behind me. I instinctively got off the road quickly, and one bike passed. The second stopped short in front of me, and the rider exclaimed, "Sedona?!" Mr. Kyle, whose phone number I'd meant to find before even approaching Flagstaff, gave me an awkward bike hug. We made plans to meet up the following day, and he offered me a futon to sleep upon. Now, with too much trail magic upon me, I gave in and decided to take a long pause in Flagstaff. At Schultz Pass Road, I hitched a ride to a downtown laundromat with a woman who plays steel drums and her philanthropist husband. I texted Deb and will meet her soon for the hiking presentation, a shower, and sleep.