There are (trail) angels among us in Flagstaff
Off the dusty, wind-swept Arizona Trail, out of the oft-harsh elements over 800 miles that range from desert heat to forested chill and critters from rattlesnakes to rutting elks, Ray Dunton sinks with a sigh into a comfy easy chair in an elegant Kachina Village living room.
He cleans up nicely, Ray does. Khaki pants pressed, unshod feet nestled in a fresh pair of socks, silver hair coiffed and soiled laundry and gear whisked away, Dunton crosses his legs and stares out to the back deck and beyond to a tree-studded hillside with pine needles fluttering down in the late afternoon breeze.
The look on his face — contentment, perhaps, or a sense of peace — comes not just from finishing the final passages of his AZT thru-hike, after forest closures in 2018 forced him to leapfrog over several Flagstaff segments, but from the hospitality, graciousness and, yes, friendship of his “trail angels,” Ann and Brian Blue, who opened their home to Dunton in 2018 and again on this late October weekend.
Would he like some chips and dip? Go ahead, indulge yourself, as Anne and Brian, proffer plate and a smile. Maybe something to drink, too? Important to re-hydrate, you know.
Read the full article by Sam McManis on the Daily Sun's website here.
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