Even though she’d exercised all her life, Amy’s endurance was wavering, and it was seriously ticking her off.

Even though she’d exercised all her life, Amy’s endurance was wavering, and it was seriously ticking her off.  She’d planned to participate in this trek for two years and had begun preparing immediately mentally and physically.  She was in top-notch shape, yet here she was, for the first time in her life, struggling.  This was the most challenging trek she’d undergone to date, but she’d done her homework in advance, speaking directly to the leaders themselves to find out what was involved.     

In the last year alone, she’d added extra bridges and lateral leg lifts, pelvic tilts, lunges and planks.  She’d worked on cardiovascular fitness.  Although she wasn’t a firm believer in visualization, she’d even tried utilizing this technique to help prepare herself for the longest trek she’d undertaken to date.

Trekking was a way of life for Amy.  She was paid to trek a variety of courses around the world and write for an exclusive trekking guide for other like-minded individuals.  That she was paid to participate in the sport she loved most was a bonus.  Her job entailed writing a detailed account of her experiences on the trek, explain what a hiker could expect, including the weather conditions they would face, and the type of preparations required.  She painstakingly outlined the type of gear, exercise, and mindset needed in order to successfully navigate the hike.

The leader of this trek was considered one of the best in the business and explained at the outset of the journey they were responsible for their gear and following his instructions to the letter.  He was a serious no-nonsense type of guy and having read up on the trek in advance, Amy knew he had every right to expect absolute obedience to his instructions not only for their safety but for the safety of everyone else participating. 

There were three prearranged outposts where they could avail themselves of freshwater, refill any rations or gear required.  He was tough and exacting, but he had to be since there wouldn’t be time to second guess anyone once they were engaged in the hike.  If he didn’t think the individual could hack it, he said so, and they were excluded, simple as that.    

He hadn’t liked her much, that was obvious and had made his derision known from the outset.  She wasn’t sure whether Maxwell Fredricks disliked her, doubted her ability or resented having been forced by his boss, Gray Morris into taking her along or whether it was because she was a writer and he figured she couldn’t handle the hike, but he’d made no bones about not wanting her on the hike.  Gray Morris had told him in no uncertain terms she was going since he wanted the publicity.  That only made Aaron Harrison resent the situation and her even more.

Consequently, throughout the hike, he’d pushed her, tested her, berated her until she’d finally called him on his behaviour.  Amy had considerately taken him aside to question his actions and he hadn’t liked it much.  And today, feeling drained and frustrated at her body’s lack of enthusiasm, she was angry because it would prove him right and she wasn’t about to let that happen.

As a result, she’d pushed herself harder, more determined than ever to complete this hike and show him what she was made of.  That his opinion mattered surprised her.  She wasn’t given to hero-worship or pleasing others.  She was harder on herself than anyone else could possibly be so when she’d reached her goals and was confident in her abilities, that was all that mattered.  In this case, however, she seemed hard-pressed to prove herself to Maxwell. 

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