Loving the campsite near Red Bank Well, we got up early the next day to make the last little push into Patagonia, AZ. This was big to use for several reasons: (1) I had so much doubt prior to the trip about my knee that Patagonia seemed proof of my ability to hike and (2) we always loved taking trips down to Patagonia when visiting southern AZ.
A morning with no clouds meant the solar well was pumping strong this morning providing us all the water we needed to get to town. We followed the AZT down the canyon/wash further and cows continued to abound. The Arizona Trail Association had a section of brand new singletrack for us to hike which made the walk quicker by avoiding a sandy wash.
The measure of distance was reinforced by a change in botany as ocotillo and Mexican gold poppies sprang into the landscape. The Patagonia Mountains loomed ahead red with iron and streaked with woody green. We rounded a hill and found a crazy steep decent through a fenced area with of course…cows. Except here, the terrain was so steep and chocked with cacti and mesquite that the only reasonable way to the bottom was on the trail, which is exactly where all the cows were. In a long line they stood taking up the trail, refusing to move. I started clacking my trekking poles together while approaching them, audibly plodding them to move. Slowly and with frequent stops, the herd made a move down the trail while I followed a couple feet behind the rear.
Fifteen minutes later, the cows finally left the AZT and we could continue down to Harshaw Road. It was super nostalgic to hit this road because the AZT trailhead is where we parked the car for the three days we did the Sky Island Odyssey bikepacking trip. Turning towards town, we made the three mile road walk to Patagonia while massive mining trucks streamed by every few minutes. About a ½ mile outside town, we found an amazing RV park (free hot showers and a rec room with wifi and couches for campers!). After needed hot showers and washing our clothes while bathing, we sat outside in the sun to dry and relax. As early afternoon hit, we walked the last 0.5 miles to town for food (a massive kale salad and enchiladas) at the Wild Horse Restaurant. I slept hard that night.
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