I awake to freezing temperatures and a cloudless blue sky. Jacob’s Lake opens to serve horrid gas station coffee, but I take what fuel I can get as I head back out onto the Arizona Trail. Today I will walk Passage 41.

More reminders of last year’s forest fire are to be found along this route. Small patches of snow cling to the frozen ground, and not one animal is to be seen.

Only silence, occasionally broken by the footsteps of another lone hiker. It gives me time to wonder what it really is I am trying to accomplish out here. I’m certainly not setting any records.

As I gaze at the line that cuts through the brush, the trail that has had so many walk along its path before me, I am reminded again that all I am doing out here is passing time.

I dream of dying out here. My carcass left to feed the earth so that something beautiful may grow and inspire another that stumbles along this same path years from now.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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