Climbing Blood Mountain
Within the first fifty steps up the mountain my legs and back were already aching. When I gasped for air my chest burned. Ready to turn around and admit defeat, I took another short breath and weary step forward. At that moment, I knew that I was in over my head and it wasn’t going to be long before my friends knew it too. Thoughts of sheer panic and anguish started racing through me. For once in my life, I didn’t have the choice to give up. I felt as if I was up the proverbial creek with no paddle, in a sinking boat. I had spent the previous five hours driving away from home, only to find myself regrettably on my way up the Appalachian Trail.
As this unyielding panic rushed through me I thought back a week prior. When I was asked to go camping, I said yes with such enthusiasm. That spark of enthusiasm soon flickered and died and was replaced with the roaring fire of nausea and angst. There I was, the only girl in a wolf pack of men. But I felt more urgently about the fact that I was the only one who had no experience hiking. My friend Tie traveled all around the world climbing mountains and volcanoes. Jake worked for the Peace Corp, and scavenges for water and food in the wild every day. I was convinced they were robots, never getting tired or slowing down. All I could do was watch with awe, as my pace increasingly grew slower. I didn’t say a word about how overwhelmed and defeated I had felt because we had only just started and there was a long journey ahead of us.
When I climbed over the last hill, I could see Tie setting up camp. I threw my pack on the ground and immediately, with no expression, I started to set up my own tent. I did it with urgency. I knew that if I didn’t quickly complete my task I was going to sit down and not get back up. When I finished I sat next to the fire, with a blank look on my face. I still hadn’t really even spoken a word, I was afraid of what was going to come out. I heard a voice out of the haze...