When I saw Marcus walking alone down the trail, I knew I'd have to go back for Dave. I'd just climbed half of Roan Mountain and had been relaxing in Ash Gap for about three hours.
I left my pack in Ash Gap and quickly covered the mile back down the mountain to where Dave was sitting. He'd been vomiting for a full mile by that point, and Kevin, who had stayed with him, knew he wouldn't make it to the top of the knob with his pack on. I told Dave to drop his pack, and that I would carry it into the gap for him.
Understand now that my own pack weighed about 35 lbs and I had spent three hours cooling down and relaxing in the shade after a very difficult uphill climb. It was now the hottest part of the day, and I had to hike about a mile wearing Dave's 45 lbs pack, uphill, scrambling over the rocks.
I also knew I was the only person who could do this.
There was a lot riding on that mile for me: my reputation for being able to carry the team, my chance to sleep in a dry shelter that night, and (most importantly) Dave's ability to get off that mountain alive. I had my goals, and I drove toward them.
I'm still surprised that I made it back to the gap without collapsing, and even more surprised that we made it the rest of the way up the mountain to the shelter. The perseverance, the drive I showed shocked even myself. Dave made it off that mountain because of me.
The perseverance I showed that day was not something I could have done alone. I walked and climbed for so long because I knew my Gods were with me.
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