Not long ago, I hiked around Mt. Rainier.
Some of it was fun, some of it was agony. I think the hardest part is what I'll remember as "The Mile of Hell," which scaled about 2000 feet or something ridiculous like that. Steady zig-zagging trail, where I forced myself to rest at least every three zig-zags. I felt like a wuss, but I wanted to be anywhere but there at the time. It was cold, and my clothes were wet from the previous night's snow. I wanted to stop under a tree, curl up into a little ball and just weep or mommy.
But there wasn't much to be done about the situation except keep climbing. So we did, Peter and I. William and Anna were pacing themselves even more, getting further behind us. Sometimes I could hear them down below and tried shouting at them. There was a valley deepening below us, and my voice rang back faintly. Never done that before.
It was getting quite dark when the walls of rock seemed to be giving way, and Peter said "Guess what? We're here."
I panted the last uphill stretch to a glorious plateau, and we hiked on a slightly downhill trail a ways before looking back at the clouds underneath us, illuminated pink and gold with the low, setting sun.
Another night we must've been climbing even higher, because the sun underneath us refused to set completely, and was casting blood red lazer beams through the trees. Seeing the light filter through the dark reminded me why I wanted to be a cinematographer.