In every long-distance thru-hike, there is at least one day when you just have to resolve to tough it out. The scenery will be boring or the conditions will be bad. You simply have to grit through it because you know the trail will soon be much better.
I thought from the start that today would be one of those days. It didn't turn out to be as bad as I feared.
|Date||Wednesday, April 21, 2021|
|Weather||Mostly sunny with temperatures from low-40s to low-70s|
|Trail Conditions||All road-walking on an asphalt highway over rolling hills|
I knew I had to walk more than 20 miles today on an asphalt highway in the hot desert sun. What I didn't know, though, was this would be my answer to the age-old question, "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?"
After thanking Solo again for her trail magic and saying goodbye, Zigzag and I left the trailhead at 7:20 a.m. There was a short walk to reach State Road 90, the highway we would follow all day long today.
Traffic was light and there was a wide, paved shoulder to walk on. Although I said I was dreading this road, it was bearable. The smooth pavement helped us walk a little faster than usual.
We reached Ridge Park RV Campground shortly before 10 a.m. Solo had suggested we stop there and buy a homemade burrito. It was a good tip. The burrito was excellent and we were also able to buy cold soft drinks.
We took an hour-long break at the RV park. Season Pass caught up while we were there.
There were a few points of interest to break up the monotony of walking on the highway. One of these was the Tyrone mine, a massive open-pit copper mine owned by Freeport McMoRan.
According to the company's website, Native Americans mined turquoise here before the arrival of white settlers. Large mining operations began at Tyrone in the early 1900s and continued sporadically before the current operation was started in 1967. Up to 100 million pounds of copper per year are removed from here.
There weren't many places for Zigzag and me to take a break out of the sun, so we were glad to see a railroad underpass near the mine. We didn't stay long, but we appreciated a shady spot to sit down.
We did not take a break at the driveway of a home we passed, though there were plenty of places to sit. I later told my wife I was going to borrow this landscaping idea when I got home. I don't think she was fond of the plan.
There wasn't another shady spot along the highway until nearly 2 p.m. We stopped there for lunch. Season Pass passed us while we were eating. We later passed him when he found another shady spot.
Tyrone, a small town that lent its name to the mine, was a couple of miles farther up the road. We had high hopes for a cold drink when we saw a sign for a burrito shop. Then we made the heartbreaking discovery that the shop was closed.
Our fortunes soon changed, though, when a small car with a colorful tie-dyed paint job pulled up in front of us. A man jumped out of the car and handed each of us a Klondike bar. We learned his trail name was Cheshire Cat, and he was driving around New Mexico to give hikers trail magic wherever he found them.
Cheshire Cat didn't stay long to talk because he had more ice cream bars to deliver to hikers on the road behind us. He didn't want the ice cream to melt.
That unexpected moment of joy was enough to power us the rest of the way to Silver City. We arrived there at 4:45 p.m. The trail went through the middle of town, so we didn't have to leave it until we reached the downtown commercial area.
We went directly to Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery, where we soon ordered a beer to refresh us from the long and hot highway trek. Season Pass arrived several minutes later and joined us for dinner.
We were also able to catch up with Crocs and Colleen. We hadn't seen them on the trail in several days. They told us Colleen now had a trail name, Jibz. I didn't know until then that jibz are little decorative charms that people put on Crocs shoes. It was a well-chosen name for Colleen.
All the hikers we knew in Silver City planned to stay at Triple Crown Hostel. Although it's fun to be around a lot of hikers, and I had heard good things about this hostel, neither Zigzag nor I felt comfortable about staying at one right now. We were both vaccinated for COVID-19, but we were still trying to minimize our exposure.
We continued our long walk for the day by going to a hotel on the edge of town. It was a little far from downtown businesses but was closer to Walmart, where we planned to shop for our resupply tomorrow.
What would you do for a Klondike Bar?
Oh, that chocolate-coated ice cream
Loaded big and rich, no room for a stick
What would you do-oo-oo for a Klondike Bar?