She reached into her dirty running clothes from the day before and pulled out her lemony grey sports bra with the dinosaurs on it. "This will work!" she said. "Eew, it smells," I said as she pulled it over my head and started to force my paws through the holes where her front legs usually go. "And it's wet."
When Mom wasn’t hypnotized by the Bahama-colored lake, her eyes were fixed on the mountains, trying to puzzle out how someone as scared of heights as she is could still climb all the way to the top. Meanwhile, I chased critters over rocks and logs with the grace of a hurdler.
“What is the difference between rock climbing, and mountaineering, and hiking? Like, if you wanted to climb that mountain up there, you’d have to get up all that scree.” She pointed at one of the steep fangs, and the thick gums of rocks and sand at the bottom. “Well, you’ve got to do your research. People will post what approaches are loose or dangerous, and what routes are safest and so on.” “Well, what if you were on the right trail and you slip anyway?"
Mom hiked on all fours, grabbing the bigger rocks with her hands until she found one that stayed in place, and then stepping her back paw as high as it would reach, and then half-pushing herself up with her back legs while she pulled herself up with her front. Some of the mountain fell down the hill behind us with each step we took.
My fan club stopped so that they could all take the exact same picture of each other smiling in front of the waterfall, and because Mom didn't want them to all ask to borrow my chicken hat, or feel silly for not being as handsome as me, we continued up the mountain leaving the waterfall behind us.
It takes a lot of brain space to keep track of all the ways that you've been unlucky, and while you're busy doing that there's no time to notice all the things you can do to make your situation better. If Mom were a clever human she would have realize that the rocks were had been walking on were perfect for building Karens to point the way, and that The Witch had lots of ways to keep track of our path so that we could find it again. But the heebie jeebies had made Mom stupid
Once Mom had put on my traditional powdered wig for the photos, I ran back up the stairs where I knew she wouldn't follow to show the other hikers that I was a good guest and knew all about local customs. They were very surprised to meet a furry-ner who was so sensitive to their culture and had brought a powdered wig all his own to the top of a mountain for a traditional Washington picture.
Suddenly we heard a noise above our heads, and saw a rock the size of a dog’s head fall down the mountain. It didn’t fall right into open air, but whacked into the mountain several times on its way down, and every time it did it knocked more rocks into the abyss with it. Mom froze in place and watched it fall, and when we couldn’t see it anymore she listened to it fall. It fell and fell for what seemed like an impossibly long time until we couldn’t tell if it had stopped falling or if we had just stopped hearing it.