Rodney kept a spare pack of batteries in his back pocket, a set of lithium-ions with enough juice to push 500 lumens out of the small flashlight in his hands. Of course, he never needed that kind of power. The standard ten-lumen setting was bright enough for him to see by as he wound his way up the trail.
Hiking up the cold hills in the brisk autumn morning wasn’t everyone idea of a good time. Rodney could understand that. His friends always expressed interest in joining him on his early morning, but who wanted to get out of bed hours before sunup just to stumble up a mountain ridge in the dark?
Around him, the trees rustled. Rodney looked up. The sky overhead, dotted with starlight a few minutes before, was growing lighter by the second. He dug his heels in and quickened his pace.
The summit was just ahead.
He was seated on the ledge when the sun rose above the clouds nestled in the valley. The light washed them in shades of pink and purple and spiked the treetops in stark burgundy. Fresh sunlight lanced across his back a short time later, the sun finally high enough in the sky to meet him where he sat.
Up before sunrise. A hike in the dark.
Rodney looked around.
He didn’t need friends for this.