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Archive for December, 2005

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How I got down off the mountain

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Nickson arranged for an assistant guide to walk me out and for two porters to carry my gear. Before I left camp, Donovan also gave me the name and number of a private doctor in town should my condition worsen. He also suggested I call Karen from the Porters Assistance Project, the non-profit organization that Donovan established a few years back. Yes I was bummed to be leaving the mountain so soon but my biggest worry was what the hell am I going to do by myself for five days waiting for everyone else to come down? Then I realized I should probably call home first chance I had to fill Mark in and then have him call my doctor. Moreover, Donovan was of the belief that more people from our group would be heading down the next day or two. With a group of that size not everyone is expected to summit.

My mates took off from camp one way to start Day 3 and I, along with my guide Dustin, took off for Shira Hut in the opposite direction. The walk to Shira Hut was actually quite pleasant. We descended from camp into a valley and then crossed the Shira Plateau. We made it to the hut in 45 minutes. I had to sign a log with my name, nationality, and nature of illness. It was still another 45 minute walk to the road where the rescue vehicle would pick me up (“rescue vehicle” makes it sound way more exciting than it actually was). Dustin, the porters & I made it to the road and it was another thirty minutes before the vehicle arrived. We piled into the Land Rover, joining a park employee and the driver. I had the luxury of squeezing into the front seat with the two of them. And, my Lord, what a ride.
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First one down: Day 3

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

I’m going to be real honest here. I came on this trip not fully expecting to summit but knowing I was going to give it my absolute all. I worked very hard to make it to this point. If I came to Kilimanjaro and made it to the top it would be the achievement of a lifetime. But I would be just as satisfied if I didn’t summit, as long as I put in 100% physically, mentally and emotionally. I also came to Kilimanjaro knowing the dangers associated with hiking at such high elevations: altitude sickness, hypothermia, frostbite, etc. If anything was going to keep me from the top, I’d have placed my money on the altitude or severe GI issues. I was prepared to handle the rest of the deterrents. Physically, mentally and emotionally I was ready to face Day 3. Sure, I had to go pole pole and I was the last in line but my body did not feel tired, I had not one blister, I was prepared for the elements, and not one muscle was sore. But it was something over which I have absolutely no control that sent me down the mountain at the beginning of Day 3.
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Cool like a banana: Day 2

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
Wake up time was set at 6:30 but most everyone, including myself, was awake before then. Slowly we crawled out of our tents to face the glorious mountain morning. The porters delivered hot tea to each tent promptly ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pole pole: Day 1

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005
The morning began in a frenzy: hikers rushing to finish their last-minute packing; guides scurrying to arrange baggage and hotel personnel working feverishly to feed and check out the trekkers in time. The scene was in direct contrast ... [Continue reading this entry]

East Africa adventures

Monday, December 26th, 2005
We packed up our things at the house, said good-bye to the family, and headed down to Moshi to check into Keys Hotel. Everyone in our group was to meet there for a pre-trip briefing and for a special ... [Continue reading this entry]

Christmas in Tanzania

Sunday, December 25th, 2005
This Christmas morning began unlike any other in my lifetime. There were no presents to open but there were countless roosters cock-a-doodle-doo'ing at 4:00am. There was no gathering around the tree with family but there was Donovan's wife, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Getting to Moshi Town

Saturday, December 24th, 2005
At exactly 7:30am, the shuttle bus arrived at Terminal Hotel and we were off. We also arranged for this shuttle through East Africa Shuttles and the cost was 30USD one way. We stopped again downtown to pick up ... [Continue reading this entry]

Noisy Nairobi

Friday, December 23rd, 2005
The flight from Amsterdam was comfortable and it didn't even feel like I was in the air for almost eight hours. By touch down, I was feeling pretty nervous, though. I'd heard so many horror stories about robbers ... [Continue reading this entry]

Oh once there were three fishermen

Friday, December 23rd, 2005
First things first. Little sister, no need to be blue. I miss you guys already, too, but I'll be fine. I'll be home before we even know it! Secondly, happy birthday to my little brother, Frankie. ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’m blue

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005
Lil Tuna is on her way to Africa. She just called me from the car. Her 8-hour flight to Amsterdam leaves at 4 pm. After a three-hour layover, she has an additional 8-hour flight to Nairobi. ... [Continue reading this entry]