It was the summer of 2014, and I had been living in America for only a few months when suddenly, it was my first summer break. I had no idea what I was going to do for the two whole months I wasn’t going to be in school. I had a close friend named Ria who I often hung out with, so I figured I’d be spending the summer with her. One day, Ria’s parents offered to take me and her hiking, and my mum agreed to let them take me. I was so excited! I had heard so many interesting stories about hiking, and I couldn’t wait to experience them in real life.
We arrived at the hiking place in less than half an hour. I stepped out of the car as I looked at the sight around me. We were in a valley that had tall mountains surrounding it from every side. There were various types of colourful flowers which decorated the land all around us. As soon as Ria stepped out of the car, I grabbed her arm quickly and ran off to the entrance as I screamed a short “Goodbye!” to her mum. I could hear her laughing at us as we ran up the hill.
“Slow down! We’re going to need our energy for the actual hike!” Ria exclaimed, chuckling.
“Sorry,” I muttered sheepishly. Pulling her behind me, we walked towards the gates. With a deep breath, we started off our hike.
As we walked, I stared at the amazing view around me.There were so many trees and flowers, creating a beautiful scenery. As the hot sun shone down on me, I wished I had brought water. As I walked, I noticed how narrow the paths were. Someone could easily fall off and get hurt, I thought. How dangerous. Shaking my head, I tried to ignore how deep the drops on the sides were, and tried to direct my mind to somewhere different.
We continued our hike, feeling as if we had just run a marathon. Suddenly, Ria spoke.
“Do you want to do something risky?” She asked me, a mischievous glint in her eyes. I had a bad feeling about what she was going to suggest, but I was bored and felt like doing something other than walking.
“Yeah, sure,” I replied, deciding that I really had nothing to lose.
“Let’s have a race! Whoever makes it to the end of this path first wins!” She announced, smiling widely. I immediately felt nervous once again. Glancing at my surroundings, I remembered how deep the drops went, and the sharp thorns and pools of muddy water that were scattered at the bottom. I did not feel like falling down and either impaling myself on a branch, or getting soaked in puddles of dirty rainwater. I was about to disagree and say what a bad idea it was, but then I thought of how much fun it could be. If we fell, it would be terrible, but what if we didn’t?
“Okay,” I told her, my heart beating wildly in my chest. Grinning like a madman, she turned to face the path in front of us, and began a countdown.
“Five, four, three, two, one…” Here goes nothing. “Go!” I took off running, my hair flying out behind me as I ran. Glancing at the ground, I noticed many giant rocks and made a mental note to be careful of tripping on them. Suddenly, I heard a loud scream from beside me. Quickly snapping my head to the side, I saw Ria leaning towards one end of the path, looking as if she was about to fall.
“Help!” She screamed, fear evident in her eyes. At that moment, it felt as if everything stopped. I knew I had to reach out to her, but it seemed as if I was frozen in a state of shock. I suddenly realized that if I didn’t grab her arm and instead let her fall, she would have been gone forever. I would have lost my best friend. As if I was waking up from a trance, I gasped and shot my hand towards her, grabbing her arm just in time. I pulled her towards me, made her sit on the ground, and then kneeled next to her. I was thankful there were no other people on that path at that particular time, because this would definitely have been a strange sight to anyone passing by. We stayed still for a moment, trying to catch our breath. Finally, she spoke.
“You saved my life…” She muttered, staring at me. I felt slightly uncomfortable under her gaze, and could only bring myself to awkwardly grin. “Thank you,” She said, smiling. Deciding I had nothing to say, that a simple “you’re welcome” wouldn’t do much, I pulled her in for a hug. After about a minute, I stood up.
“We should finish the hike,” I began, stepping away from her. “Carefully this time,” I continued. Ria lightly chuckled, yet there was little amusement in her laugh. We both dusted off our clothes and walked along the path once again, but this time, we walked slowly, cautious of the many bumps and rocks.
We eventually made it back to the parking lot, and I found her mum waiting in the car not far from us. We strolled over to the car, Ria’s mum smiling widely when she saw us.
“How was the hike, girls? Did you have fun? You were careful, right? You’re not hurt?” She asked at a rapid pace, quickly grabbing our arms and checking for bruises when she saw the mud that had dried on our skin. She clicked her tongue when she spotted a few small cuts on mine and Ria’s hands.
“We had a lot of fun!” Ria stated happily.
“Yeah, it was definitely a lot of fun. Don’t worry, we were very careful,” I said, turning my head to face Ria and giving her an accusing look when I said “careful”. Grinning, her mum ushered us back into the car. I glanced back at the mountains once more. It was strange how they could look so pretty and innocent from a distance, yet be so much different when seeing it from a closer view. Or maybe they were not really at fault. Maybe we just did the wrong things. Don’t take too many risks, they can be fun, but they can be dangerous at the same time. I climbed onto the leather seats and fastening my seatbelt. I was definitely going to be visiting again soon.