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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro: Part 3

In the morning,
as usual,
Diga cooked us our delicious breakfast,
,just outside his porter tent.

We said good-bye to the White-necked Raven,
who stole Ken's soap
as he tried to wash up in the pan of hot water
Nesir brought to us each morning and evening.
On our way we saw the debris
 from an airplane that tried
to soar around the mountain in 2008.
From what I read, four tourists died.

Kibo Hut where we registered.
There are a lot of buildings at base camp.
Now we have a view of Mawenzi Mountain again.
They use solar panels for power.
That night,
though we went to bed early
we watched the moon rise over Mawenzi Mountain.

Nesir woke us around midnight.
We dressed in our warmest gear,
drank hot tea and ate English biscuits,
then began our ascent.

Pole, Pole--Slowly, Slowly
The cold wind was constant.

As we climbed through loose scree,
we noticed our breathing felt different.

I struggled with severe back pain,
due to carrying my pack for 7 days straight.
My theory is that with low oxygen,
my muscles couldn't recover,
so the pain was more intense.
800 mg of Ibuprofen didn't even touch it.

Filbert was worried it might be my lungs,
checking my pulse and O2 levels a couple times.
I assured him it was just my muscles
and not my lungs.
I found my poles useless, so I put them in my pack
and Filbert took my pack to help my back.

In the mean time, Ken began to really "battle" to keep going.
He felt exhausted.
Filbert left the lead to encourage/console/threaten/challenge him to continue.

Musini, the assistant guide,
was now our leader.
I was next in line,
 then Laura and Ken and Filbert were a little way behind us.

I began to feel colder.
When I told Musini,
he pulled an extra down coat out of his pack
and helped me put it on.

Every action felt like a difficult, exhausting task.
As Musini zipped the coat up for me,
I commented how I was like a baby
and he was taking care of me.

"No, I am your son
and you are my mother
and I am caring for you like a son cares for his mother",
he sweetly replied.

We slogged along in the pitch dark
following the sparse light of our headlamps
when we came to some rock scrambles.

This was where I began to feel better
and I KNEW I would make it!

We summited Gilmore Point by 5:10 am.
It was still dark outside.
I longed for the sun.

Then we began the hour trek across the rim to Uhuru Peak.
About half way there I saw the sun!
The moon and the sun-kissed glacier were beautiful!


The highest point
19,300 ft
Uhuru Point
was full of people from all over the world
with their guides.
We took turns for this famous picture spot!

It was a surreal feeling being up that high.
None of us felt well,
we were exhausted,
nauseous,
and zombie-like.

I wanted to take more photos,
but just the idea of the effort it would take
was overwhelming.

Then we began the trek back to Gilmore Point
and down the steep rocks and scree.

It became warmer and warmer as we descended,
we stripped off our outer layers along the way.

Laura and I reached our tent by 10:30 am,
collapsing inside we fell instantly into a dreamlike sleep.

Ken and Filbert made it down by 11 ish.
We rested a little longer,
ate our lunch,
packed up and began our descent to Horombo Hut.

On the way,
I turned to look back at Mt. Kilimanjaro
marveling,
as I usually do,
that I was just up there on the summit!

We hiked about 14 hours on summit day,
sleep came easy that night and was much appreciated.

Continued in Part 4

1 comment:

Don Brenneman said...

You are just AMAZING!!!