"It’s not a race.” “Are you sure it’s not a race? They’re giving out medals and stuff…” “No, it’s a challenge. There’s a difference. A race is something that you do against someone else, a challenge is when you commit to doing something difficult and compete with yourself. It’s like a competitive resolution. Challenges are different for everybody because they depend on context.” “Wait, so a challenge is a contest?”
When Mom finally stomped over the edge, she put her hands on her hips like an intrepid explorer and took a triumphant sigh. Then she tapped her pockets. Then she tapped her pockets in fast forward.
“There’s no way that bacon boulder can out-sprint me!” I wagged. “Lemme at him! I'll have him teach you about his problem free philosophy when I catch him.”
But when we got there, there was no fire, only wispy clouds stuck to the mountains and blocking the sky. “Did the fire go out in the rain?” I asked. I know about science, so I know that when a fire gets wet it turns into smoke. “Ugh, the forecast said the rain was supposed to be over by now, but the storm’s been following us since California. I think it’s going to rain the whole time we’re out here.” That happens, because Mom is the Weather Jinx.
With our legs and a little help from The Witch, we had everything we needed to get to the dooms. Once mom realized that when the answers are inside of you, you don't have to follow anyone else's rules, the freedom fell into her legs and she started jogging. It didn’t matter if she got sweaty, because she had been wearing the same clothes for four days anyway, and already smelled like the stray humans in The City who camp in the dog bathroom.
"This sure is beautiful, isn't it, Mom?" I asked. I wasn't quite sure if it was beautiful, so I was hoping she'd tell me. These mountains didn't do all the inspiring gymnastics of the really tall mountains that blocked the desert. They were kind of nubby, and their only trick was to trip and fall right into the ocean with a little splash.
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?"