The first time I ever saw mountains was driving through the foothills of the Appalacians during a trip from Florida to Michigan.
I remember staring out the car window at five years old with total awe and wonder at what I was seeing. Other than the visual splendor, I remember that my ears were popping a lot like they did when I first got on an airplane a few years later. Although this part of the Appalacians by the Smoky Mountains isn’t as high of elevation as the Colorado Rockies, it was a huge change coming from Florida where my house was only 10 feet above sea level. But none of this minimal car travel could prepare me for my week-long trip to Albuquerque. My friend Johnny from college invited me to stay with him and his girlfriend while touring the area. This was my first trip west of Arkansas and I was excited to see the new geographical areas I had read about since childhood. However, getting above 5,000 feet above sea level in an actual city instead of an airplane took some time to get used to, especially while using cannabis. I should have spent more time acclimating myself to Albuquerque’s high elevation before getting even higher myself. We stopped at a dispensary in North Valley and took Alameda Blvd and a few other roads until we arrived at Cibola National Forest. We discussed taking the Sandia Peak Tramway, but the planned trip never came to fruition. Regardless of my issues with the elevation, I loved Albuquerque during my short stay.