Day One

We get up at around four in the morning. Shower, brush our teeth. Pack everything back in our packs, making sure we leave nothing we may need. Luckily there’s an Uber driver near us at four in the morning. The driver’s name is Mark. The driver gets there pretty early, earlier than usual drivers. You would expect this driver to be sluggish or at least with the slightest bit of sleep in his eyes but instead he’s as awake as a bird. As soon as he parks his car, he steps out of the car with a big excited “good morning!” and a goofy smile. In hindsight, I greatly appreciate his enthusiasm but at the time I was a little annoyed. He was surprised by our heavy packs. We put one in the trunk and the other in the back seat. I quickly took the back seat to try to get some shut eye and Balt took shotgun. He asked about our packs and about Campo. He was excited for our trip. Said he was a boy scout. He was quite the chatterbox but that’s the perfect person for Balt. Balt likes talking a lot too. So I sat in the back trying to get some more sleep but instead found myself awake staying up to date with their conversation, especially with Balt’s “honey, where was that place…” or other occasional questions about our previous hikes or trips.

The moon is full and still present in the five a.m. pastel sky. I’m nervous the whole way there. Mostly about using my trowel and having to pop a squat every time I need to pee.

We’re about 20 or 25 miles away when Mark, the Uber driver, says that he needs to find a gas station. Soon. He owns an economical car, as most Uber drivers do, but he hadn’t filled up despite noticing the low fuel. By then, however, we were out in the middle of nowhere. There were no more rest areas, gas stations. Just desert and mountains outlining the horizon. He sounded a little worried and panicked in his characteristically cheerful voice. It kind of made me panic. He decided to keep going and perhaps we would come across some type of gas station instead of turning around and driving about 15  or 20 miles back west to where it was actually populated. Those were really our only two options. It was  relief when we saw an exit leading to a small

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