Friday, March 18, 2011

The Best and Worst

Well, as you already know, mission accomplished! Kilimanjaro is now officially off the bucket list. It was never actually on MY bucket list to begin with, rather my sister's, IronGirl.

Back in Canada, everyone is asking how it went, was it beautiful and the like. Great sense of achievement, without a doubt. If I had seen one person turn around and give up, I would have been right behind them. But I wasn't going to be first, not me, I was not going to be 'that' guy. IronMan says he would not have let me quit, but if starting rolling down that hill, there is not much he could have done to stop me. Would I do it again? No way. I would not wish how I felt physically on my worst enemy. If one of the guides had not carried my pack, there is not way I would have made it.

I think though, it is a little like childbirth. Or so I've heard. At the time it is hell, but the memories of pain and suffering fade fast and you start to think, well, maybe I would do it again. But I am not there yet.

So what was the best part, aside from actually getting to the summit? On our third night, we were so far up Kilimanjaro, that we slept above the clouds and had a thunderstorm below us that we could watch from our camp. I've seen that sort of thing while in a plane before, but it was stunning to see it with both feet on the ground.

We also walked in the clouds. That was pretty amazing. Not like cotton balls at all really. Just thick, soupy fog.

The best advice I had, and am very glad I took, was wearing a thong. The guide book suggested three pairs of underpants for the trip and then turning them inside out to make up enough for the 6 days. Same went for t-shirts. Apparently turning your clothing inside-out makes it clean?

I went for 6 cheap thongs that you just pitched at the end of each day. They took up less space, weighed less and were remarkably comfortable.

The worst piece of advice, and thankfully I ignored it, was not to take a camel back. I had one and it was the best piece of equipment ever! I also had nalgene bottles and a collapsible one, but that camel back was worth it's weight in gold!

As for the worst experiences, aside from puking on myself after we passed the Stella ridge, both were sleep related. First, there is not one piece of flat ground any place on that mountain. Every night was like sleeping on a listing ship. 5 or 6 times a night you had to inchworm your way back to the top of your sleeping pad just to wake 30 minutes later with your feet sticking out the tent flap.

Second, was my sister and her snoring prowess. And I am not alone here, it was the topic of conversation every morning. That girl has a gift just like her father. It was a nightmare for the rest of us, but at least she slept soundly.

There are more stories to come, but first day back, just sharing the highlights!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a camel back?

11:07 AM  
Blogger Blair said...

You left a trail of thongs up the mountain?

11:31 AM  
Blogger Robert Mitchell L.L. said...

A camel back is a bladder that you use to carry your drink of choice. They usually go on your back in a little backpack sort of thing and have a hose that reaches around to your mouth for drinking. Saves taking off your pack, getting out a bottle, putting it back etc. Doesn't sound like much, but makes your required liquid intake MUCH easier!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Kudos to all of you. Now you know why I am always sleep deprived...are you the only one who wasn't afflicted? Maybe I should direct my question elsewhere.

11:14 AM  

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