After leaving Hueco Tanks (in our tanks 🙂 ), our original plan was to stop in Flagstaff, AZ to check out the bouldering there. We made our way to Albuquerque where we spent one night, enjoying the luxuries of a college town (coffee shops, restaurants, brew pubs etc) and the 400 miles of dedicated cycle routes! As we were leaving, we both thought it would be a good place to return to (great cycling, good bakeries, a good gastropub scene, and apparently some climbing too).
After spending the following morning on a 35km cycle ride next to the Rio Grande river, then phoning various family members for Easter in England, Saskatchewan and Nantucket (no answer in Australia…), we drove halfway to Flagstaff spending the night in Gallup, New Mexico. Did you know the Easter Bunny visits RV’s too?!!
So Flagstaff! We drove in the following day, battling high winds coming into the city. Hmmm, not ideal, a bit white-knuckle in places. Oh, and the temperature was hovering just below 10C. Hmmm… a bit of a change from the +30C in Texas and New Mexico. Well, the friction should be good on the rock…assuming we can find the rock (there are no published guidebooks for the area!).
After arriving, we walked around Historic Flagstaff for a bit in search of something to eat and to stretch our legs. We both liked the Historic area a lot, and found a great place for brunch!
Without a guide book to buy, we headed to the local climbing gym downtown for some information. The guy was super helpful and gave us a few print-outs and some hand-written directions on how to get to the more popular areas; without a proper guidebook though, we were feeling a little skeptical at our ability to find any of the areas without bushwhacking for at least a couple of hours 🙂
After walking around some more shops, we settled into the Mother Road Brewing Company‘s tasting house to sample their selection (tasters are known colloquially as a “flight”). Flagstaff has quite a few local breweries in town, and this one was supposed to be one of the top. We were the first people into the tasting room late-afternoon, but not for long; it was a popular place!
We spent the afternoon checking out Mountain Project and checking the weather. It was supposed to be cold (10C during the day, -4C at night) and very windy (40 km/h) for the next week. What to do, what to do… We decided to check out a nearby crag within the city the next morning and assess the various injuries we’d picked up in Hueco. If the bodies felt good, we would forge ahead and try to find the larger, more remote, climbing areas, or if we felt out-of-sorts, we’d move on.
The next day came, and the bodies still felt beaten. We needed more time to heal (Jonty’s ribs and back, my shoulder) and the cold, windy weather was not going to help us. So, we decided to move on. We were fairly disappointed with our situation, because Flagstaff seemed like our kind of town (laid back, good cycling, great amenities, stellar climbing – if you can find it!), but the timing wasn’t right this time; we can’t wait to get back there!
So we sampled a little more of what Flagstaff had to offer, then made the four-hour journey over to Nevada (Las Vegas, Red Rocks).
We will definitely be returning to this town again, with hopefully more to report on next time!
For reference, here were a few of the places we went to:
Mother Road Brewing Company: Just a taster room (no food), great ambiance
Lumberyard Brewing Company: Pub as well as a brewery (can get food)
Hops on Birch: Taster room, rotating craft beer on tap
Pizzicletta: Small restaurant, great pizza
MartAnne’s Burrito Palace: Querky little cafe, had my first Huevos Rancheros here (excellent!)