Every summer at the end of the Christmas holiday, my family and I would embark on a long hike with the goal of reaching the top of Mt. Kosciuszko, the tallest mountain in Australia. Even in ideal conditions, we inevitably failed to summit — the walk is quite far — but in 1990, despite our less than perfect track record and an ominous weather report, we determined to attempt the journey once again. The icy hail blowing like frozen peas against our faces seemed like a fair warning, yet we pressed onward, up the slope along a rusty, metal-treaded path. When my father finally signaled for us to retreat, I was walking a few paces behind him and my brothers, along with my mother and my two sisters. I ran to catch up, turning my head back towards my sisters and mother just in time to see them silhouetted by a violent flash of light.
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