Total Miles: 715.1
The rock strewn dirt road we’d arrived at just as dusk cast a pall of gray over the mountainside was more than just a home for the night. It was now our yellow brick road—albeit a less brightly colored one—leading us to a distant town stop that we could not see, an Oz of a far less fantastical sort.
There were no scarecrows, no tin men, no lions to greet or join us, only a smattering of cows, some that seemed eager to show us the way, others skittish enough to bolt up the rough hillsides to which the road clung, still others content to stand statuesque and watch us stroll past.
Gradually smoother and less rugged before emptying onto pavement, over the course of twelve miles watching its slow evolution the road became synonymous with anticipation. There was no need to consult a map to chart our progress—the better the road became, the closer we were to our destination: one final resupply stop in the sleepy tourist town of Patagonia.
Arriving into this quiet town near the end of a journey, the trail directly touring its small grid of streets, I can’t help but wonder the mindset of the spring northbounders for whom this is the first oasis at the very beginning of a journey. Just as I had nearing the town of Lordsburg last year, I imagine the excitement for the long journey that lie ahead, the satisfaction of completing the very first stretch, and the gratitude for the way-station at which all wounds from those early miles can be given a chance to heal. As I prepare to watch the final miles tick away over these next three days, I can already feel the nostalgia, the envy, for being in those very same shoes beginning to set in.