Section 5: Douglas to Columbus

 

Day 56

17 miles

 

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After an uneventful night of camping we started up again back on the county road. Kris decided to make the drive up to Lordsburg in the hopes of finding WiFi and some groceries that we’d forgotten in yesterday’s haste. It was well over an hour away and the only town even remotely close. We walked along the road for several miles, first on hard dirt then pavement.

Maybe we have some easy miles ahead?

 

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At one point on our left was a collection of buildings that the Border Patrol uses as a station. A lot of the agents sleep there for their week rotation, according to our agent friend from yesterday. The entire right edge of the road ran along Diamond A Ranch property, marked by large “No Trespassing” signs and barbed wire. Their property included the beautiful Animas Mountains with steep escarpments and rolling hills that washed up against their rocky slopes. The peaks were part of the Continental Divide. Just over this ridge was the Continental Divide Trail, which traverses the States from Mexico to Canada.

 

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The trail doesn't begin on the geological divide because the foundation doesn't allow CDT hikers on their property. (Can you tell we have a grudge?)

The space was enormous. We felt like tiny specks moving through terrain built for giants. There were only minimal signs of civilization - the road and the occasional red farm house peeking out from cottonwood groves. Despite the remote feel, the road was surprisingly busy, with most vehicles coming towards us and moving south. We wondered where they were going. It’s only private property back there. A hunter pulled over and asked if we were okay. He was headed to Coronado National Forest.

Was everyone headed to the same tiny chunk of National Forest?

 

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Eventually we reached the turnoff for the new route we’d planned.

We have no idea, will we be able to get all the way through?

 

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We go through a lot of private property and no one that we’ve spoken to has a clear answer as to whether or not the roads have public access. The alternative is to continue north, adding at least a day to our original timeline. We’d rather try our luck out here. We turned off on a dirt road that runs through Diamond A Ranch property for several miles. Two wooden posts and a cattle guard marked the entrance. One of the posts had a large sign declaring “No Hunting. No Trespassing. Private Land.” This was an improvement from many of the other signs so far which added “Private Road” to the list and we reasoned that this meant we could use it. Wish us luck!

 

The next several miles were uneventful with no signs of life other than the occasional cow. Kris found us near sunset and we set up camp just off the road on a small portion of BLM land.

 

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What did you do today, Kris?

He recounted his adventures from the day which mainly consisted of sitting in the Lordsburg “Welcome and Rest Center” for their free WiFi. Once the sun set it was too cold to sit outside for long and we retreated to the tent and sleeping bags. As we waited for our body heat to warm our bags we challenged each other to find the best lyrics of our favorite songs. Aside from our voices, the desert was quiet and still.