Friday, April 8, 2011

Pole pole

Kilimanjaro is not a long walk! We returned just a few days ago from our climb. It was an incredible week. Jamal, our driver, took us down in a green safari jeep/truck to our starting point. There we met up with the army that would get us up the mountain. In order to climb Kili you must have guides, porters, and a cook... So the group headed off into the jungle and began our "pole pole" (slowly slowly). Day one was a downpour, transforming our trail into a raging river. We were soaked to the bone and worried that this may be it; the rain may never stop and we may never get a glimpse of the mountain. Our fears were washed away though upon our arrival to camp # 1; The sun broke through and dried us out, and the clouds parted revealing Kili in all of its glory. The next days were beautiful as we moved through the ever-changing landscape. We hiked out from the jungle and into the open as the trees and plant life changed, and finally disappeared. Our porters had camp ready and waiting for us at the end of the day, our cook prepared us delicious feasts, and our guides slowly and diligently showed us the way. Our team was wonderful and made the trip a great success. Our head guide Zebadiah was 60 years old and the sweetest man in the world. We had two other guides as well; Gaudens (who we insisted on calling Guidance...), and Rashid (a young, smart, extremely attractive person). They were all so kind to us; celebrating with us in our little victories and encouraging us through our struggles. As we gained in elevation we began to understand how important the slow and steady pace was, as the air thinned we could feel the change. The morning of our final ascent we headed out into the darkness just after midnight with headlamps on and so many clothes we felt like stuffed sausages. We climbed for over 6 hours up steep switch backs to Gilman's point, THIS IS NOT THE TOP! I felt like I was going to die; the altitude had really hit me hard and my brain and bowels felt like they would explode at any moment, luckily only one coming true. Our guides cheered upon our arrival as the sun filled the sky, and asked "mama" if she was going to Uhuru. My mama is going to the top crawling if she has to, so we waddled off along the crater's edge. Another 2 hours passed before we came to the highest point. We felt sweet relief upon our arrival, spent about 15 minutes taking it all in, and quickly began our descent to the the thick rich oxygen far below. The trip could not have been a greater success and I feel so grateful that every detail fell into place. We are back in Kijabe and Katie has arrived! We are heading out on a piki camping adventure today. More to come...


  1. such an accurate and great description! loved reading this...;)
    so glad i was there!

  2. You are such a good writer! amazing proud of you all!