The moon shone above me at midnight. I could see a small, lone green hill among the dry and rocky land, at the edge of the mountain. I walked around a 100 feet, and stepped into the soft green grass. I was alone but not alone. I could hear two pairs of footsteps walking behind me. I walked closer to the edge of the green hill. Was there land beyond it? Or was it simply the edge of a cliff? The clouds surrounded me, corrupting my vision of what lay beyond the edge. I walked closer, and closer. The fog and ice within the clouds around me chilled me to the bone, until I could no longer feel the difference of being hot or cold.
It was on odd memory. Standing alone on a green hill, at midnight, in the moonlight, within the clouds. I just stood there, feeling no warmth, but not necessarily feeling cold either. The misfitting and lonesome sounds around me made me feel small and more alone than ever. I walked away from the scene and continued up the rocky mountain.
I walked out of the car, and slammed the door shut. I marveled at my surroundings- it was quiet. Pin drop silent. There were rows of cars parked along the sidewalk. Across the street I could read a sign saying: The Highcliff Hiking Trail. As I looked at the start of the ascending trail, the last rays of sunlight gleamed across the area, making my dark hair seem red, and my eyes gleam a bronze orange. My mom and my aunt stood alongside me and observed the view. Then we got started.
I recall my aunt telling my mom to be more prepared on hikes. Telling her that you should go early and calculate the arrival time. But that just isn’t my mom. My mom is more the crazy-smart, do-without-thought kind of person. So we started the 12 mile hike at eight pm. At the start of the hike, the trail was still pretty populated. The yellow fields (still within the first mile of the hike) had a few small huts and houses, along with gray, barbed wires and some fences. But as time went on, more trees grew into view, and the houses and construction materials started to lessen until all that was left was nature and the few remaining families of hikers.
There were also many cows. Such beautiful creatures. The second I see any animal, a smile just creeps onto my face. Their loyalty compels me, and their humble ways are admirable. I went closer and closer to them until they became cautious, then I walked back a little. The view was especially beautiful- a small, clear blue lake with trees growing partially around it. A few dozen cows grazed around the lake, drinking the fresh water from the lake.
Within the first 20 minutes I was already ahead of my aunt and my mom. My aunt is quite fast, maybe even faster than me, but she kept stopping and waiting for my mom, who was still getting to that speed. I stopped for a few minutes, shivering as I waited, until they caught up and then continued along the path.
After a while, my feet started hurting too. Something was prying at my shoe and my socks. I lifted my leg. Small thorny seeds were sticking to my feet, and the landscape, which was getting rockier, started hurting my feet even more. I always wore my running shoes and they were extremely thin and were not at all meant for hiking, so I could feel every rigid curve and bump within the landscape. I put my foot down and kept walking. After a while my breathing evened out and I started walking faster. I didn’t stop walking, and a while later, I turned around, and no one was there. I was alone.
An hour or so began to pass by. The stars were beginning to show as the sky darkened, and I was getting colder and colder. It felt like billions of icy flakes were drilling into my bones. The remaining groups of turkeys in the field had run off to somewhere warmer, and the only creatures out were the crickets. I closed my eyes and breathed in the cool night air, shivering one last time.
A few more minutes went by until I was so cold that I didn’t feel cold- it was as if my body had no temperature at all. The shivering had also stopped. I felt drowsy but not tired and more sore. I scanned the trail, and ahead, I saw the last stretch of land (that my mom had told me about) that was before the peak. I started running, my sleepy eyes drooping all the way, until a large rocky wall blocked my path. Panting, I put one foot above the other and climbed the 20 foot wall- only to find another long stretch of land ahead. Great, I thought tiredly. I didn’t want to keep going. I looked down dreamily. No! Keep going! You’re almost there! I looked up again. Yeah right… there’s like five more miles… TOO BAD! KEEP GOOIIINGGG!!!! So I kept walking.
This is where I found myself shrouded in clouds. Wearing a no sleeve shirt and long, but thin, pants did not help me feel warm (even though I didn’t feel cold)., but something felt wrong with my body. I knew I was supposed to feel something, but I just didn’t. I didn’t even feel sore, only sleepy. In front of me were two hikers. They looked like college girls, and I started feeling jealous as they walked off with their large, comfy jackets. They went on ahead, but I found myself distracted.
Off path was a small green hill surrounded by more clouds, and I felt drawn to it. I looked back. No one was there. I wasn’t scared, but slightly worried about where my family was. I hoped they didn’t leave me halfway and head back down. Either way, I just had to reach the peak- I needed to accomplish something for once. So many times had I left things half done. But not this time, especially because it would be an athletic achievement compared to other easy academic achievements in my life. After staring off the edge of the hill, my feet getting wet from the condensation on the grass all the while, I ran back to the trail and hurried this time.
Within a few minutes or hours, I really don’t know, I could see the peak. I walked quickly, my heart thudding with anticipation and exhaustion. The rocky outcrop stretched the mountain’s peak a few more feet higher, and then I stepped at the very edge. I laughed and sat down. Thousands of city lights were visible and the night sky amplified their lights.
The two college girls sat a few feet away, and after watching the view they left. I continued to watch the city lights flicker throughout the land below. Within the mountains stuffed in clouds and surrounded by the oceans, I sat there, feeling ice form on my skin as the harsh winds swirled around me. My eyes stung as the cold air slammed into my body over and over again. My hair, which was originally in a braid, had been untied my the wind and was now whipping around with the air current. As time passed by, it became hard to breathe, being in the high altitude and all, so I stepped off the peak slowly, taking in the view one last time, and turned around to walk back down the trail.
I could barely feel my fingers and toes, and the complete lack of feeling within me was starting to hurt. Looking back, I could see the cruel and majestic peak, and looking down, all I could see was darkness below the hovering clouds. I knew I wouldn’t make it back down by myself. But I didn’t care. I had made it to the top. And my mom didn’t. HA. Now I have something to brag about, I thought gleefully. But thinking of my mom made me miss her all of a sudden. Out of all the times I had gone on trips, never even missing her, now I missed her most of all. I tried to yell for her, hoping she was nearby, but all the came out was a whisper. I just wanted to lie in bed, cradled in my moms arms, warm and sleepy, but this situation was exactly the opposite. I didn’t even know where she was. I took another step forward, and then another step, and then another. I could see the ice forming on my skin, and as much as I tried to warm myself, I just couldn’t. I had no heat left in me.
Once I reached the 20 foot wall, I knew that whatever was bothering my body had become to much to bear. I started down the rocky wall, my fingers becoming paler and paler. My breathing was slower than ever, and my energy had been sapped from my skin. Slowly, or suddenly, I felt myself become unconscious. My hands and feet, which were barely keeping the rest of my body from falling, had lost their feeling. I literally could not feel them. Then, without any warning from the rest of my body I fell down into the cloudy darkness.
I opened my eyes, slow and painfully. My head felt like iron rods had been stabbed through them, and purplish-black dots dabbed in and out of my vision. I lay in a white bed, in a new set of dry clothes, wrapped in thick blankets. I smiled. I made it to the top. I didn’t even care if I didn’t make it to the bottom, or that I was in a hospital, because I had made it to the top. But that just made me think of my mom again. I wish she was here. I thought again glumly. Where was she?
I tried to turn my head, but the pain was unbearable. I gasped to stop myself from screaming. Through the corner of my left eye, I saw a clipboard. I reached for it wildly and then looked at the documents, scanning it, and all I saw was the word: Hypothermia. Woah. That sounded… scary.
I guess being there for people, but no one being there for you when you need them, seems to be the story of my life.