My hands are cut. I have assorted aches and pains and bruises that will complain later, tonight, but for now they can be ignored. The nettle has given me shallow gashes in so many places that I have lost count. The grass – bearing short thorns – is almost taller than I am. If the trip up was scary, I can’t imagine what the trip down will be like. Most likely I will roll like the little balloon I have become, and hopefully not damage any vital organs. Meanwhile, I let my hands and arms take the brunt of the scratches, I am mortally afraid of a thorn entering my eyes. But that is in the beginning. As we go higher, the sun becomes fiercer, and I lose fear. All there is, is the line of people behind me and the few in front. We keep moving, though the muscles in my legs are crying for a stop, a break. I know they will begin cramping when I do stop, and we do not intend to stop till we reach the summit.
Friendly banter continues somewhere behind me, somehow, today I have not the heart to join in. I am terrible at the whole hill climbing, physical activity front, and so the one right in front of my keeps checking and making sure I’m still alive. The one behind leaves enough space for me to back up if I have taken a path that is too difficult for me. I know that there are rips in my jeans – jeans for Christ’s sakes! This is entirely the wrong season to have gone trekking… but I enjoy the exertion. At some point, the wind becomes a huge factor, tugging, pulling, yanking. We tease a painfully thin friend that we don’t want her to fly off into the horizon. She clings on tenaciously. Finally, the company gives. There are too many of us inexperienced climbers to go up the last quarter. We all collapse where we stand, for more than fifteen minutes. Then we turn and go down, spider like, leaning as far back as we can. Defeated, but not forever. The summit still waits.