Twig Adventures

AZT Days 30 & 31: Patagonia

November 5th, 2019
Casa Blanca Canyon mm 721.9 to Patagonia mm 737.4
Distance in miles: 15.5

There was a 1000′ climb to start the morning and then it was mostly downhill into town. The climb was nice because it offered good views of the sunrise and went by fast. Once over the saddle, the trail quickly turned into a jeep road and then a wide gravel road all the way to town. I was thankful for an easy time and smashed the miles. It was also nice not to have to concentrate on my footing, but instead enjoy the views. The road was quiet except for a caravan of jeeps that didn’t bother to slow down. The dust cloud that the 10 or so vehicles made forced me to stop for a minute, breathing through my buff. The hazards of being a hapless pedestrian on a dirt road.

Patagonia was a welcome destination, my last town stop on this trail. I’d heard great things about it. Freebird liked it so much that he spent a couple winters there. I quickly saw its appeal in the friendliness of the people. For instance, at my first stop at the PO, I was missing an envelope that I was expecting from home. No problem, the post master offered to take my phone number and call if it arrived. What PO does that? She followed through with her promise, too, calling in the late afternoon. Ssuch outstanding service.

My next stop was the visitor’s center. Dave, a volunteer there, was sitting outside and struck up a conversation as I went by. He gave me some very good advice about where to camp nearby, and I signed the log book. Next I headed to the Gathering Grounds, a cafe and bakery. They did breakfast and lunch and had self-serve coffee. I got a yummy sandwich and a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie. I drank way too much coffee while I sorted through all the goodies of a care package.

I stayed for awhile at the cafe, just talking to people I meet. First it was Dave, from the visitor’s center, and his wife Barbara. Then it was 2 ladies, Mary and Linda, that were interested in my hike. Then another 2 ladies, didn’t catch their names. Everyone was so friendly and the vibe at the cafe was very positive and welcoming.

I arranged to stay at an AirB&B that was a few miles outside of town. Kathy, the host, graciously offered to pick me up and even stoped at the store so that I could get food for dinner. Her house wass lovely, nestled in the mesquite hills. There was a lot of acreage to the property, most of which she had set aside as a nature preserve. She was a retired school teacher and loved birding. She was going on a 2 week trip to the Galapagos starting the next day.

I talk to Jon in Phoenix late in the day, coordinating when and where we were going to meet in a few days. Once again, he’d offered to drive down to the border to pick me up. We decide to meet on Saturday the 9th, which gave me a day to take a zero in Patagonia and then plenty of time to walk the remaining 52 miles. I got settled in, did chores, and had a nice time making dinner in the kitchen. I chatted with Nathan, Kathy’s husband, and then it was time for bed.

November 6th, 2019…zero in Patagonia

A very strange thing happened when I woke up. There were clouds and then a pitter-patter sound on the roof. It was raining! This was in the forecast, so it was no surprise, but very weird none-the-less. This was the first precipitation I’d ever seen in AZ. It didn’t last very long…over in less than half an hour and barely wet the ground. I enjoyed a leisurely morning and Kathy ran me back into town.

I went back to the PO to collect my envelope, also buying some post card stamps. This way I could fill out an online survey for Ali, the nicest postal service worker ever. She was just as helpful this day. I made sure to mention her by her name in the survey…5 stars!

I went to the Gathering Grounds for more coffee, sandwiches, and pie. I immediately meet a nice couple that were from Phoenix but doing local hikes in the area. They recognized me as a thru-hiker and had lots of good questions about gear and the trail. Deborah and Brent aspired to thru-hike as soon as they could retire. I was a bad influence on them, encouraging them to get started as soon as possible. I finally got around to writing some post cards. The day melted away and I need to go somewhere else to get away from the free coffee refills.

The busy streets of Patagonia

The library provided a good spot to hang for the rest of the afternoon. I was able to arrange a flight home and post blogs. With a flight scheduled, I finally had to face the fact that my hiking season was nearly over. But I guess I was ready for it to be. It had been a long year, a lot had happened, and I needed to try to sort out my life again. I left just before the library closed at 5 pm and headed to the small grocery for a few extra snacks. It was more like a convenience store, so I was glad I received a care package at this town stop. I headed to the Wagon Wheel Saloon for dinner and ended up getting seated right next to Deborah and Brent again. They graciously bought me dinner. It’s such a small town, you can’t help running into the same people over and over.

After dinner, I headed a short ways out of town to a park and nature preserve. A local gave us a tip that we could stealth camp there. Under the cover of darkness, I pitched my tent. I felt a bit like a bum but hey. I would pack up first thing in the morning and no one would ever know I was there. It was a nice spot, but the road noise and town dogs were a bit loud. I guess that’s what you get for free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.