We finally make it to Albuquerque after three days of driving. My car is the last thing holding us to the real world and we walk away from it towards a journey of a different kind. In the wind and the heat we navigate through traffic towards the Sandia mountains. People look at us from their air conditioned vehicles with pity. They feel sorry for us, but they don't know how free we are. Mud and I feel like the luckiest people in the world with just our packs on our backs.
Up on the crest there are tourists and restaurants. We fill up water bottles and field questions about where we're going, where we've been. We've done nothing, really. Yet just the packs we carry pique everyone's curiosity.
Though the wind is stronger than ever up here the path is wide and feathered with pine needles. It's enough to keep us chipper all evening until the sun sets. The campsite marked on our maps is no campsite at all, so we walk and walk until a small patch of flat ground in the woods appears.
In the distance we can see twinkling lights of the city mirroring the stars above. It's a cold night and I wait in my sleeping bag, like I've done so many times before, for my body to warm up and relax enough to fall asleep.
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