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( Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times )
Distance: 688 miles one-way
Like thousands of travelers who visit the wilderness annually, I had come to see the hardscrabble patch of New Mexico that became the model for every protected wilderness in the country. I came to explore the same rocky trails cut by the Apache warrior Geronimo, homesteaders and gun-packing fugitives. But most of all, I wanted to see whether America's first wilderness area -- protected 84 years ago from roads, cars and other modern intrusions -- was still as pristine and untamed as Leopold had intended.
-- Hugo Martín
Read more: Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico is the untamed West