Pearl got to the foot of Mtn Metamorphosis early, just as she had planned. The day light just barely coming up over the horizon. The mountain was bare of vegetation, there was very little that would give you any expectation that there was a tree anywhere to be found. And yet it was the Tree of Transformation, that was to be the prize at the end of this arduous journey.
She felt ready with her knapsack stuffed with water, sketchpad, pencil set, trail mix, a sandwich, and of course her first-aid and snake bit kit. You could never be too careful in the desert. Since living in the desert for these last six months, Pearl had developed a sixth sense, awareness.
She never would have hiked this mountain six months ago alone, but with her new skills of survival, she felt confident. Anyway she reasoned that a transformation is a personal experience. Setting out on a journey like this with a group might dilute the moment.
In the beginning the hike was gradual, but just as she expected the upper 2/3 of the trail was like a staircase, rather than a hiking trail. Now that it was later in the day, the wind had started to pick-up, making the climb take on another level of difficulty.
Pearl’s legs ached and her feet started to feel every stone through her tennis shoes. She played a game of climbing ten steps, and resting and then ten more quick steps. If it hadn’t been for the stories about the Tree of Transformation, Pearl would have been tempted to turn around and head back down the mountain. But this wasn’t an option as she was determined to reach her goal.
It was 1:00 in the afternoon. The sun was high and hot in the sky. Already Pearl had burned through 2 liters of her water supply. The wind also seemed to dehydrate her faster than the heat. Her throat felt dry continuously, but she knew that it was important to ration out her water and not to drink it too fast. Slow and steady she climb the stairway up to the summit.
As she approached the top of the mountain she thought she heard something. It sounded a lot like wind chimes. Despite being tired she seemed to have found a pick-up in her step.