She should have been there first. Alone. This was her time.
The hike to the summit took thirty-five minutes. Slower than usual, but then she was out of practice. Work, family drama and a seasonal cold had all conspired to break her old routine. The path had been thick with mud, the soil churned by a myriad of walkers who had come this way since the monsoon conditions two nights before. Rain hadn’t fallen in nearly twenty-four hours now but the ground was saturated. Water permeated the dense woods, drawing out the essence of ‘eau-de-disinfectant’ from the giant fir trees, peppering the low grasses with an early morning dew. A fresh rock fall had littered the path just before the Halfway House. She slipped twice as she passed through.