This past December, MC and I had the opportunity to hike up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona with my stepmother, S. It was a beautiful day in the Valley of the Sun, and the trail head was already packed with other hikers. We waited patiently for a parking spot, then grabbed our water bottles and started our hike. Full of energy and enthusiasm, we bounded up the stairs that lead up the mountain. MC and I chattered away to S about what pro's we are at this hike; after all, we do it every year. At some point, I had to stop for a minute and rustle up my inhaler (darn asthma) and it was then that S made her break. One minute, she was beside us, the next she was halfway up the mountain. I continued to struggle up the boulders that make up the next half of the trail. MC would hike ahead, then wait as I dragged (drug?) my sorry self up the trail, wheezing and sputtering. At some point, I told him to just go on without me, but I think he was becoming concerned that I might pass out and roll down the trail, taking out the other hikers behind me. Finally nearing the top, each step taking every ounce of my strength while I chanted under my breath, 'I can do it, I can do it', MC literally got behind me. As in, got behind me and pushed me up the rest of the way. I'm pretty sure I looked delirious, stumbling and muttering under my breath, dragging myself from rock to rock, and wondering why I had thought this would be a good idea. And then... the summit! Where S was waiting, cold and shivering from sitting at the top for over half an hour. Thankfully she wasn't too lonely up there; about 25 people were also at the top, enjoying the view. We even got buzzed by a very friendly member of the Phoenix Police; the pilot hovered and waved as I tried to collect my oxygen deprived brain enough to recall how to work my camera. We started down, S and I slowly picking our way among the rocks and boulders, MC doing his usual run down. Yes, I said run. That's nuts, people.
MC got this final picture of S and I. Note how we are calmly walking down the stairs. Of course by now, I feel invincible again and ready to tackle any mountain. Bring it on!