Friday, September 11, 2009

day #4: moor. desert. endurance. kibo.

the saddle - on what? satan's horse?

Fact #4: When uncomfortable in an environment, I do everything I can to get out of the situation as fast as possible, particularly if I see an end in site.

Exhibit A) High school cross country meets - I only gave it my all when I could see the finish and then I burned a path to get the race over with ASAP.

Exhibit B) Biking up hills - I love it I love it I love it. Especially at the top.

Exhibit C) Day 4 Kili - the saddle - wind burn, dust, cold, hungry. Get me out of here!

Discomfort makes me the fastest-moving person out there.

Day 4 started out beautifully - a clear morning, a walk through the moorland. Altitude sickness for me had all but vanished. The giant lobelias showing off the mountain's curves, their lively green hats and shaggy old brown sweaters sucking water from the parched earth. We got to the top of Mawenzi Ridge and took in the sweeping views - moorland behind us, alpine desert ahead. I thought it looked so flat and beautiful.

looking back at mawenzi's jagged peaks

...and looking forward towards the alpine desert and the steep slopes of kibo

Immediately upon descending into that valley, I felt like Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments - the part where he's wandering around in the rocky wasteland somewhere in Bible world, wondering why he's been cursed to struggle. It certainly was biblical - the scenery, my suffering...

And so I put my nose down and burned a path to Kibo, stopping at the rocks just before the hut to binge on the little bagged lunch in my pack. Sheltering from the wind in front of a rock and hunched over the bones of what was once a piece of fried chicken.

Just the mindset I needed to climb a mountain. We trekked the final bit to Kibo Hut, where we shared a room with about 8 other people. I tucked myself into a top bunk and listened to the wind whistling outside. One of the girls was puking over and over and over; her guide trying to tell her she should still attempt the summit. I turned towards the wall and drifted off, awakened by Peter and dinner. I know we had soup, because we always had soup - but for the life of me I cannot recall anything else.

Midnight loomed. We asked James why we had to summit at midnight. He assured us that if he tried to take us during the day, we'd never make it up the scree wall.

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