Saturday, November 19, 2005

Day 5 - It's wonderful!

It is wonderful to have another rest day. It means so much... we can explore and enjoy the mountain, and we can acclimatize to the altitude, so important! I am looking forward to getting a look at the strange looking 'tepee' and climbing to the top of a nearby ridge. I lay in the tent after an early sojourn to the toilet tent, waiting for the sun to crest the mountain and share its welcoming warmth. Man it is getting cold, brrr, there is frost on the tents. I am used to being able to see my breath, I am from Canada after all, but I do not usually camp in the winter.

My stats are good again, thank goodness, but I take a 1/2 diamox (125 mg) not for the altitude but more in the hope that I might get a bit more sleep. I can honestly state that I do not know if my lack of sleep every night is due to the cold or altitude, as I never get much sleep at the best of times, and I have just finished a two year Graduate program, where I was constantly working on my degree or my job and sleep was a luxury.

We head out for our acclimatization hike fairly early, before lunch. The first stop is the old wooden tepee. We are told that porters used to camp inside, but not anymore, it is rotting and dangerous. The inside smells of ancient smoke and is covered with people's names and the date that they were there. I climb the ladder to the second level, it is a little bit eerie, dark and hard to see. I want to write my name and date somewhere, I spend a bit of time looking for an old piece of charcoal and space to write, but to no avail. We move on to start our climb and I leave the tepee, just a little disappointed that I did not get the chance to leave my 'mark' at Moir Camp on Mt. Kilimanjaro, a sign that I was there, survived and made it that far! Oh well....

We split up into two groups, those who want a short climb and those who want to go a little further and higher. I opt for the further/higher group. I am trying out my poles today, I am not accustomed to poles and thought I should give them a go on an easy climb. I come the conclusion that I do not like using poles and will only resort to using them if it is absolutely necessary (and they do later on, as you will see).

My sister, P.B., on the way up the ridge. Thanks A.W. for a great photo!

Artsy Photo of PB
It does not seem like we climb for very long before we reach the top, or at least get as far as we plan to go. The view as usual, is spectacular and takes my breath away. The beauty of the mountain has changed to a rough and rugged terrain, but still amazing. I marvel that we have come so far in such a short period of time, yet have so far to go.

The rugged terrain on the slopes of Kilimanjaro:

Rocky Terrain
If you click on the picture and look carefully you can see our camp off in the distance, look for the yellow specks (our tents).

Looking back
On the way back down to the camp, Urio takes me on a side trip back to the tepee, where he searched for a piece of charcoal and wrote my name in HUGE letters across the floor, he says he will remember me. My name in Swahili is a man's name so he spells it a bit differently, but I am touched that he went to the trouble. Now all who enter the tepee will see my name and wonder who "JENICE" is...

The rest of the day is spent catching up on laundry and resting, singing and sleeping, and of course eating and journaling.

I end the day the way I always end my days on the mountain... standing in awe under a blanket of amazing, bright and beautiful stars. Venus is brilliant.


Violette said...

I like the "artsy" picture. It's cool how you can see everybody in the reflection of her sunglasses. I love your writing style, and I'm eagerly waiting for more.

librarychik said...

Thanks Violette, I am trying to keep up with it while the details are still fresh :-)

JB said...

I can just imagine how brilliant the night sky must have been without any light pollution--wow!

You seem to be doing great at this point in the climb; I’m really impressed by your endurance.

And I like the sunglasses picture, too. It's neat to see all the people in the reflection of the lenses.