To practice for their summer trip to the national parks, Sofia and her best friend decided to hike Old Rag Mountain. Nine miles around and 2,680 feet up.
On her day off work at the bakery, they drove with new driver’s licenses to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
“Shortcutting is dangerous,” said a wooden sign at the base. They trekked over needle ice. They climbed traprock staircases, they overtook ice rivers.
On that day cut with a diamond sun, Sofia had no time to stream The Great British Baking Show or to set silverware on folded napkins before dinner. She was crawling up billion-year-old boulders with two arms and two legs.
It was dark when the front door opened and the night air brought her in. As she untied her shoes, she swiped through glowing images on her phone. Shoulders resting against rock walls, pink noses, clouds of effort. Her eyebrows were rainbows. And her face was lit from the inside.