The Arizona Trail: Part 3

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

I only heard one vehicle drive down the road, and briefly heard cows mooing and coyotes howling in the distance during the night. This trail is very quiet compared to the others I’ve been on. It wasn’t as cold as the nights before, but there was frost on our packs and on the outside of our tent, and our sleeping bags were a little damp. We dried out our gear before starting our hike to the town of Patagonia.

We met two hikers, Alan and Monique who were traveling with their German Shepherd, before hiking fence-to-fence through fields being grazed on by cattle.

Frisbee’s foot was bothering him, so we took a short break by Cott Tank Exclosure. We cameled up and got more water to-go from the solar-powered pump.

There was a newly developed single track trail section ahead which appeared to go parallel with the original trail. It was early, but I was getting hungry, so we took a short lunch break on the side of the trail.

While eating, I caught a glance of something creeping through the tall grasses nearby. All I knew was it was not a cow or a deer, so I alerted Frisbee. It turned out to be a collared peccary, known more commonly in Arizona as a “Javelina,” and it ran off as soon as it spotted us. I was just glad it wasn’t a mountain lion!

Once we were back on the original trail, we’d have some climbing to do. Then the trail went down to a road which we would have to walk for 3 miles to get us into the tiny town of Patagonia.

As soon as we got on the road, we met a girl named Gnat who was thru hiking. We’d later learn she was from Ontario and taking a break from her job fighting forest fires.

Before getting deeper into town, we’d walk by an RV park and meet another hiker named Spark who dropped some knowledge on us about the fully booked hotel and where to get a good bite to eat. He told us the park allowed tenting for a steep fee of $25, but we weren’t planning on staying overnight.

We stopped at the ‘Ovens of Patagonia’ to grab chocolate milkshakes. Afterwards, we started searching for the best spot to resupply, and ran back into Thatch. He was leaving the trail for a week to do trail maintenance for a volunteer vacation. We chatted briefly about paying it forward and giving back to the trail, then checked out our two resupply options.

‘Red Mountain Foods’ looked great! Sadly it was more of a health foods store, a choice I would have selected if I were back at home and not on such a tight budget. We went with the ‘Patagonia Market’ instead, which had a decent selection of trail food. We had hoped that it would be cheap enough to justify eating dinner at ‘The Velvet Elvis’, but it didn’t work out that way. We need to pinch our pennies where we can.

We’d meet another hiker named Gary at the market, and another named Jill outside the courthouse where Thatch was hanging out. She mentioned that the night before, she had set up camp, but decided to break it down shortly afterwards when migrants illegally crossing the border walked by.

A lot of them seemed confused as to why we were hiking out of such a cute, friendly town with all the amenities on a Saturday night. But the longer we stuck around, the more money we’d end up spending.

We took the forest road back into Coronado National Forest. There was a trail re-route due to a forest service ordered trail closure for a mine reclamation project.

We’d walk the forest road 0.6 miles until we found a stealth site. We escaped town, but I wouldn’t be able to shake the cold that was slowly developing in my sinuses. Every time I visit Arizona, the dry air gets the best of me.


Distance Traveled: 20.6 miles (33.2 km)

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