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It was quiet at the Patti Ann Mobile Park when I left at 7:11 am.

It had been a cold, windy night until about midnight; then it was just plain cold! I slept in my REI long underwear, two pairs of wool-blend socks, and a merino wool shirt and watch cap. My Kelty sleeping bag is rated down to 19°F, but it still seemed cold.

The first six miles were all uphill, and not only was it arduous, but it took me three hours to complete them. Then it was downhill another few hours. I was fighting Walker all the way, my right hand cramping from squeezing the handbrake.

The sun was bright but it was chilly, and I wore my Patagonia jacket pretty much all day. There are no services on this stretch of Hwy. 70 at all, but I’ve got sufficient food and water.

Although the road was safe (I walked for miles on the opposite side of the guardrail, thus protected from oncoming traffic) and the shoulder was wide, by the time we finally hit level ground my feet and I were tired, clocking in at 15 miles for the day.

Appropriate spots to pitch my tent were few and far between, so when I saw a spot close to the highway but behind a few scrawny bushes, I decided to take it. It’s not yet 6 pm, but the wind is picking up and it’s getting cold.

I texted my son Adam and thanked him once more for helping me finish up my miles in the desert, and allowing me to reach Kingman. Although our time together was cut short by blisters, as he always says, “It is what it is, Dad.” Amen to that.

@ Highway 70, New Mexico

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