At roughly 9 am Friday, I said my final goodbyes to my family at the Tree and headed northeast towards Carlsbad, NM. I was a difficult ending for Laura and I, having built up a beautiful relationship over the last 2+ months. We created a special bond, and if and when the time comes, we may meet again. I am happy for her to have been given my position as live food instructor and although she may not have much experience, I know her dedication and passion will make her a great instructor.
Passing through two times zones, I made my way to Guadalupe National Park at about 6 pm. With about 500 miles of driving for the day, my legs where a bit cramped and I felt the need to get in a run before i would call it a night. I found an easy 2.3 mile trail just north of the park and once I completed the loop, turned around and ran it back the other way. Although it wasn't as many miles as I would have liked to put in for the day, it was enough to stretch out my legs and build up an appetite after a day of driving.
As I entered the park, I noticed that the campground was full. I then walked into the visitors center and was told by the park ranger that New Mexico has open land which is free for the public to camp on. I was warned that the land was rustic and may be spending my night with roaming cattle. Perfect!!! I would be happy to spend the night anywhere as long as it was free. When out on the road, I am not too keen on spending 20 bucks a night just so that I can pitch a tent for a few hours.
For me, this would mean a night of solitude. Alone, under the stars with a full moon over head, this is the life!! I found a beautiful spot, set up cam and made dinner for myself. The go to meal of nori, greens, tomato, shallots and avocado, with a smear of tahini, hit the spot.
As I watched the sun quickly dissapear over the horizon, I gave thanks to the Divine for a safe day on the road, my health and good family. Temperatures quickly dropped so after I breezed through a few chapters of Desert Solitaire, I snuggled into the comforts of my sleeping bag and called it a night.
What a beautiful way to start a road trip. Tomorrow, the peak of Guadalupe awaits my feet!!