"I can't do it." I hunched over, hugging my arms around my chest, as my lungs called wearily for air. We were on the Key Summit hike in Milford Sound and my respiratory system felt the combination of a fast ascent on an uphill climb and the pollen blowing from the spring wildflowers that dotted the lush ferns and trees. As we sat on a log, debating whether we should continue, a backpack laden Kiwi stopped by us. “Keep going. You have another 45 minutes to the top and the sky is clear.”
We stood in the center of a circle of snow-capped mountains and wondered if we had wandered into an eternal place. The lake reflected white peaks that jutted into the snowy clouds that drifted through the deep blue sky. The perspiration on my forehead grew cold from the glacial winds but my heart rate did not slow until Patrick turned to me and smiled. “Breathtaking,” he said.