Pleasant morning at our Airbnb. Once packed we were given a ride into town and said farewell to our wonderful hosts.
We zoomed around Patagonia once more, picking up last minute items. Had another great interaction with the staff at Red Mountain Grocery. This time, I met an Ohio native that shared my political views. We discussed yesterday's primary results and she gave me a few free candies as I left. :)
Walking around town with our packs on Karrie admitted that her knee was already hurting again. This made both of us nervous. We decided since the next section of the AZT is mostly road walking we could start hiking and if things got worse we could likely catch a hitch back to Patagonia.
We hit the trail/road around noon and set off at a mellow pace. It was actually really enjoyable! It felt like we were just out on a stroll. Sat in the shade of a juniper tree for about an hour during the high heat of the day.
Using my trekking poles Karrie was feeling good so we kept moving along. The afternoon was perfect. A nice breeze, excellent scenery, good conversation.
We heard some yipping and hollering coming towards us at one point and soon realized that a pair of Cowboys were herding their cattle down the road. We stepped aside and watched them do their work.
Once the cattle had passed us one of the Cowboys rode over to us and asked us about our hike.
"How far you heading?" he asked. "Aiming for Utah!" Karrie replied He smiled, "That's wonderful." "How about you guys?" I asked, "Driving this cattle down to Patagonia?" "No, we just have a little further to go. Taking them down past the next cattle guard for summer grazing. They spend the winter grazing on that pass up there" he pointed to the shoulder of a huge mountain behind him. It looked far off and steep, "Wow! How many days did it take you to drive them this far?" "Oh, we started this morning." He stated. Karrie and I were amazed. "You're going to love this next section." He continued, "really beautiful mountains up there. Say, where are you two from?" I said "Ohio and Pennsylvania" while Karrie said, "Pennsylvania and Ohio." He smiled, "Well, come back again. You're welcome here anytime."
We thanked him and before he trotted off. I took a mental photograph of this rugged cowboy on his horse with the mountains and desert landscape as the backdrop. To me he was the epitome of the West.
The warmth and beauty of it all literally brought a tear to Karrie's eye.