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Tanzania

A vacation from the vacation

Arusha, Tanzania

I awoke barely in time for the end of the breakfast buffet and went back to sleep. The windows were open, so I was vaguely aware of the turkeys calling about the yard and a hiking group taking off on their adventure. Mostly, I was just passed out.
Some time around 1, I was coherent enough to get our stuff organized, return the borrowed gear, and get ready to move. I was still coughing. Since we had pretty much planned to spend a day in bed recovering, we decided to move back to the Four Points, which has comfier mattresses. On the way, the driver kindly stopped at a grocery store for us to stock up on supplies.
We got lots of soup, as well as some other items that could be made in a teapot. The prices were not cheap, but we were not going to put in the effort required for going out for food.
We got to the Four Points, checked in, and collapsed back into bed.
I spent something like 24 hours in bed, except to make soup in the teapot, shower, put lotion on my overblown nose, and use the restroom.
My cough is better, but still present. Also, I'm pretty sure I have bursitis in my heel, making walking less than comfortable.
On our last day in Arusha, we decided that we did want to see a tiny bit more of the town and get some food that wasn't soup. At around 5, we finally worked up the energy to venture out.
We headed in the direction of the central market. On the way, we passed some sort of rally. Boys tried handing us flyers, but we don't read Swahili. We made our way through the crowd to the center of the hubub. Apparently, the rally was run by an Islamic group and was in support of some martyr with Hussein somewhere in his name. The ralliers had black flags with Arabic writing on them and many were also in black t-shirts. I'm unclear as to whether they were rallying for somebody who died recently or were celebrating somebody from Koranic times. In any case, it was a peaceful rally that meandered towards the mosque. In the mosque parking lot, the leaders led chants and the ralliers repeated.
rally

rally


We moved on.
The central market is nothing like the Masai market in that is not at all for tourists. Vegetable stands lined the entrance areas. Other stands sold any kind of fly-ridden meat or fish you could want. Actually, you could also buy live poultry, which probably had fewer flies on it that the buckets of fish heads. Some stands also sold home goods like ropes, mosquito nets, and cloth.
chickens in market

chickens in market


We wandered through a few aisles and then back out. Lots of sellers wanted us to step into their shops, bu we weren't here to buy, just observe.
I was surprised by the lack of ready-food vendors near the market. Usually, there are at least a few vendors out with their grills at places like this, but not really here. The surrounding businesses were also shops and not restaurants. It took us a bit to find it, but we stopped at Hot Plate, a well-recommended Indian restaurant, for dinner. It's small, but the food is really tasty.
arusha market

arusha market

Posted by spsadventures 05:50 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Kilimanjaro Day 6- an early goodbye

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

After last night's excitement, I woke up too early, but I used time to slowly and comfortably take a wet wipe bath and change clothes as well as try to process this whole trip.
high camp

high camp


I did my research beforehand. All of the youtube vloggers say it's exciting and emotional and fun and wonderful. People we met before the trip who had done it before and gave us advice didn't say otherwise, although everyone says it's hard. They don't say some days can be torture. It's not that exciting except when things go wrong. It's true that there is nothing like the view- ok maybe a plane- but like Uluru, the view just isn't worth it. Also, I spent too much time looking at the ground to see the view most of the time anyway. Perhaps other people have different experiences and disagree, but I'm not sure that I'd recommend this to anybody. And I do think that if somebody came to me for advice, I'd make them ask themselves why they really think they want to do this.
I'm sitting here feeling pretty guilty for having suggested this trip that made my partner sick. I really just want somebody to come give me a update on how he's doing and then tell me that it's time to get the heck off this damn mountain so I can see him and shower.
Finally, we got moving. The path down started rocky, but today, I had a good leader. As the assistant guide was already at the bottom with my partner, I was given a porter to help navigate the path down. Gideon was a great navigator! He quickly realized that it was faster for us to take the rain channels than the stairs in many places. When he saw a rock that was on the path, he frequently kicked it out of the way before I got to it. We made excellent time without killing my knees or slipping.
Our time was so good, that just as I was about to ask how far to Mweka Camp (I expected maybe another half hour or so), he pointed out the signpost for the camp. We were there!
I took a rest break to remove the final warm clothing layers as the temperature was rising. But I was eager to get down the mountain, so it was only a short break.
After Mweka camp, the path became dirt stairs retained by wood, as it was on the first day. The hiking was easy enough that I was able to talk a bit with Gideon and GoodLuck and learn a bit about life in Tanzania and on Kilimanjaro.
One question I'd had for days, but had been too tired to ask finally got answered- how the rangers work. They do have to walk up the mountain to work, but then they are on duty for 10 days before they switch out and walk back down. Porters arrive with new food and supplies every 4 days. We saw some of those porters- they had the full 20 kilos of food on their head and had no backpacks as they were able to make their delivery and return in the same day.
back in the forest

back in the forest


Soon, we had passed that section and were hiking along a dirt road used by rescue vehicles and garbage removal vehicles. I eventually got updated that my partner was doing ok and was back at the hotel waiting for me.
Since we ended the hike a day earlier, I got to see different groups than I did on the way up. One had something to do with breast cancer, and all of the porters and hikers wore bright pink tutus as a symbol of this.
monkeys on the mountain

monkeys on the mountain


We met up with another Climb Kili group that had started a day before us and ended on time. Together, we went for lunch at a nearby picnic spot. It had a sink to wash our hands before we ate and I was so excited for that sink that I squealed with delight. It felt amazing to get the first layer of grit off of my hands. I'm seriously not sure I've ever been so excited to see a sink in my life.
Their chef made lunch, and made me truly appreciate how good King George, our chef, was. Their lunch didn't even have hot sauce, and the potatoes were so dry.
The music was good though. The store speakers were pretty much playing what I listen to at work all day- Despacito, Subeme la Radio, Echame la Culpa, Dura, and other Spanish hits. Some drunk guy with a guitar was playing over the music while we ate though. He played both American pop songs, as well as Swahili classics.
art picnic place

art picnic place


The location had wifi, so I could update my family on our progress. It also had a large store full of stuff for tourists to buy and took credit cards. Three artists were on-hand, painting art for the store in a little studio. The yard contained metal statues for purchase. One was a life-size giraffe. I'm not quite sure how you transport that one home. The guys from the other group shopped while I just sat at the table, relaxed. I was still coughing, but otherwise completely calm.
We loaded back into the van and continued on our way back to Arusha. A couple of times the driver got out to check something on some of the wheels. And then he pulled into a gas station.
working on the car 20180917_165418

working on the car 20180917_165418


Something was wrong with the brakes (I think). Several guys got under the van to check it out and make repairs. I was impressed with how quickly the vehicle was attended to. We were in and out in about a half hour.
We got back on the road again. The conversation was good, and the drunk guy played guitar in the van, but by the time we got anywhere near Arusha, I was starving. The sun set, and we were still in the van, with no hotel in sight.
Finally, we arrived. I was so hungry and physically tired/sore and dirty that I just wanted to eat pizza while showering and collapse in to bed.
But, first things first. The porters and crew had taken extraordinary care of us on the mountain. In addition to the recommended tip, we wanted to give more. We had heard that most of the crew buys about 65% of their gear and has the other 35% donated. (Btw- everyone has shoes and this is checked by law at the entrance. We had heard stories of barefoot porters, but hadn't seen any. This seems to be old information that porters go barefoot.) We had already donated our headlamps in the effort to get my partner down the mountain in the dark. But we also had a camelbak and some gaiters we won't use, so we donated those. Additionally, we had seen in the book that we could hire a porter to carry our daypacks for $100. We didn't do that ahead of time, but I didn't carry my daypack for most of the hike, so we wanted to tip for that as well as the rushed descent they brought my partner out on.
I didn't have extra cash (which I'd need anyway for later), but the driver was happy to take me to an ATM. The max it gave was 400,000 Tanzanian Shillings, but I was able to use it twice. When I gave the huge stack of bills to the guide (he divvys it up amongst the crew) he thanked me. Then, he turned to the remainder of the crew that was in the van, held up that, plus the basic tip and gave some sort of pep talk in Swahili. All of the guys were saying thank you and shaking my hand. I was thanking them because this adventure would not have been possible without their incredible support.
I showered and went for the dinner buffet at the hotel. It wasn't amazing, but compared to the mountain food, it was great. I ate curry and pasta with spices. It's amazing what a few little spices can do.
We chatted and compared stories with the other guys who had just come down the mountain, as well as went over advice with a hiker who was headed up the following day. But I was exhausted, and couldn't stay up too late. Bed was calling my name.

Posted by spsadventures 05:48 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Kilimanjaro Day 5- coming back down

Kilimanjaro, Tanaznia

This was what I wrote in the journal as my goal in the morning:
It's day 5 and I still have this ugly cough. Everybody is worried about it and so am I. My nose is running and I'm phlegmy and I don't feel good. Since I don't feel like I have a fever, I'm guessing it's just from breathing in all the cold air. Even if summiting isn't in the plans for me, I'd at least like to get up to 5km altitude before turning around.

This morning, we pushed the guides to get us out of camp earlier than usual so that we had options for summiting.
The first part of the path was pretty flat and I actually did quite ok at it. There were a couple parts that were more like the Barranco wall and needed 3-point contact rock climbing, but they were short and spread out. One part was just a rock field and every step could cause a small avalanche. I was super-nervous about slipping there.
In general, the whole way up, the paths have been more like converging and diverging river streams. There is no specific marked path to take and everybody takes what works for them, passing as needed. I tried to take routes that were safer and less likely to cause slips. While it was slow going, it worked for me.
DSCF2634.JPG
My partner needed to go faster though, so we split up. The plan was that he would get to Barafu, eat, and then push for the summit before sundown. Usually, people sleep at Barafu and push for the summit in the middle of the night to get there for sunrise. But he was confident that he was not going to be able to sleep at that altitude, so there wasn't a point in waiting to summit.
I was going to get to Barafu, then see if I could get to 5km high, and then head down to Millenium/High camp to wait for my partner. It is at a lower altitude and he would be likely to be able to sleep there. Then, we would exit the mountain a day early as we didn't need to stop at Mweka Camp.
By the time I got to Barafu, I was exhausted. In the pictures, I am literally being held up by the sign pole and struggling to hold my head up. Getting up to 5km with this cold was just not in the cards for me. I logged into my highest and last station before heading to our camp.
I napped and ate, and while my oxygen level was ok, my heart rate was not. Even after a nap it was beating fast. I felt like I was back in Budapest, where I damaged my heart muscle caving and just couldn't get it to calm down.
I was proud of having made it this far with a cold. 4.7 km altitude is no joke. But I'm also not convinced that it was really worth the trouble and misery. Maybe it's like Uluru- I can't recommend it, but I'm not upset I went.
I left Barafu and made sure to tighten my boots so as not to slide too far forward in them.
We descended through brown dusty dirt, but as the path was less rocky, we made good time. Eventually there were plants up to my ankles and then my knees- those same yellow flowers we saw on the way up. I don't know if this descent-related or not, but I had a serious case of the burps the whole way down.
On the way, the assistant guide kept me updated on my partner's progress. I heard he was halfway, then at Stella Point, then going for Uhuru Peak. I was really glad he was going to make it. It's a bit ironic as I have strava proof that I did way more training and started earlier, but I'm just really excited for him.
stretcher pile

stretcher pile


We passed a pile of carts lying by the side of the path. I asked the assistant guide what they were for. He said that they are stretchers, used when people need help getting down the mountain, but don't want to pay for a helicopter. To me, that sounded crazy. Why would you spend upwards of $4000 on the hike, flights, tips, and gear, and then not spend the extra $20 for the insurance that will helicopter you out?
Then, I could see the Millenium/High camp, where we had altered our plans to stay tonight. It is lower than Karanga and has lots of trees, some taller than a person, so there is better oxygen and we hoped my partner would be able to sleep well here.
I feel better already. I'm glad it's our last night on the mountain- no more diamox, no more confusion as to what symptoms are related to altitude or cold or something else, no more dirt, no more sleeping on the ground with limited ability to move my legs. Hopefully, this cold will go away as well. I had thought it was cold and altitude related, but according to the guides, that is not normal.
They helped me dust off my boots and pants at camp, as I waited in the food tent. It was just too much work to climb into my sleeping tent, and so I relaxed in the dining tent for a bit. I sat there drinking hot honey water and listening to some guys listen to a soccer game on their radio. I watched some birds hang out near a tree that was gnarled into looking like a cartoon dog face with a bone. I heard some helicopters overhead, clearly on rescue missions. I tried to shake the diamox pins and needles out of my feet and burp up the rest of the heartburn. The guys brought me some popcorn to snack on, and I actually ate some as I reflected on this trip.
I've been banned from planning family vacations and was told that next vacation we do something relaxing.
I'm glad we went with a private group. If we had been part of one of those big groups, I would have been done on the first day. For a while we weren't excited about the lack of info sharing about plan b, which may have been language barrier or may have been professional experience. (When we got to Millenium/High camp, I noticed that there was a cut across from the Karanga camp listed on the sign.) In the end though, when we were adamant that my partner couldn't sleep at Barafu and wanted to summit, they woke everyone up early so we got out early and he had time to summit before dark. They set up a mini camp at Barafu for us to rest and eat, then tore it down and moved to Millenium/High quickly. They really pulled together for us and we appreciate that.
sunset over high camp

sunset over high camp


I ate dinner around sundown, and then started to worry about the guys coming down in the dark. It could be dangerous. Also, it was getting cold and I saw that they hadn't taken the winter coat- probably because you don't need it in the sun to summit. But in the dark, you would. I hadn't heard an update in a while and was also worried about the lack of information flow. The assistant guide said that they were all out of batteries, so I gave him some of ours and continued to wait for news. He said maybe the guys coming down were out of batteries, but that I shouldn't worry.
Running out of something as important as batteries 2 days before we were supposed to be done did not inspire confidence. I asked what time we should expect them, and was told 8, so at least I had something to work with.
I read in the tent until 8, then 9, then 10, before deciding that sleeping was going to be best for my sanity and best for my ability to function. There wasn't a whole lot I could do at this point anyway. Besides, I could hear the crew still up, which meant that they were alert and ready.
At around 1am, I was awakened and told that he had made it to camp. Good. I said he should come into the tent. But I was told he was at the ranger station. I popped right up and rushed over, although it was a slow rush, as I was still winded easily.
It turned out that he had gotten some altitude sickness during his push for the peak and ended up needing some assistance and oxygen in order to get down the mountain. Even though it was dark, they needed to get him off the mountain quickly in order to avoid further escalation of the problem. Ironically, even though we had the nice insurance that covered helicopters, they couldn't land at night, so they were going to have to help him down the path anyway.
We got out the good winter coat and gave the porters our headlights, which were an order of magnitude or more better and stronger than theirs, and they all set off down the mountain.
I would have just been in the way and made them go slower, or else I would have wanted to go with them. Instead, I had to get back to sleep. The one benefit of being fully awake at 1am was that I got a good look at the stars. I hadn't done so on the mountain yet as I went to bed before they were fully out or I was rushing to the restroom in the middle of the night and not paying attention to them. Like in the Serengeti, there were a lot of stars.
How do you sleep after that kind of excitement? I crawled into the tent, snacked, and promptly had to pee. I then got as settled as I could and waited for morning so that I could leave and see how my partner was doing. Of course, the best way to kill time is sleeping, so I did.

Posted by spsadventures 10:00 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Kilimanjaro Day 4- Karanga

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

We wake with the light, but it takes a while for the crew to bring the morning hot drink. I still have a cough, so that drink is gold to me, but other than the cough and runny nose, I'm feeling much better. My goal has returned to summiting and not just getting out alive.
My partner on the other hand, is struggling with his sleep. Even sleeping with his head outside of the tent isn't quite cutting it anymore. The air is just too thin. Now he's trying to understand what our options for plan B are. But either due to his experience or a language barrier, the guide isn't being particularly straight forward with his answers.
How thin is the air? Well, just getting up in the middle of the night to pee winds me. Going from sleeping to out of tent is a challenge, and the 4 meters/yards to the toilet tent causes major panting. They don't tell you to bring adult diapers, but I'm wondering if that would have been a good idea just so that you don't have to get up at night.
In the morning, we went to fill our water bottles. The water was so silty and brown that I couldn't believe this was our drinking water. But the water guy showed us that he had put purification tablets in and insisted that it was safe to drink, so we filled up on it. I'm guessing that the rivers are running dirtier due to the rain and snow, which is why the water was so murky.
I can't eat much, but I'm still trying to let the chef know when I like something so that maybe he'll make it again when I can eat. Yesterday we had cheese sandwiches and a potato pie that I barely touched although they were quite good for the circumstances.
barranco camp

barranco camp


Today's hike begins with the Barranco wall. Wall is an apt word. It requires bouldering skills to get up. Unless of course you're a porter and just walk up the wall like a goat. For the rest of us, it required handing over our poles and using three points of contact to climb like we did back at summer camp. One ledge is so narrow they call it the kissing rock, as you basically have to press yourself against the rock and kiss it in order to pass.
I kept looking up and thinking we were halfway or close, only to get to what I thought was the end and realize it's a ledge and there's plenty more wall that I just couldn't see from below. At some point, I gave up trying to estimate and just climbed.
Finally, we reached the party at the top. Everyone was listening to music, chatting, eating, and enjoying the view. Even many of the porters sat to take a break here.
view from the top of the Barranco wall

view from the top of the Barranco wall


Once rested, we continued on our way. While I had been using a bandanna over my nose to help me catch the runny nose, keep out the dust, and insure that I was breathing warmer, moister air than the surroundings, today I needed my sunglasses. The bandanna caused them to fog up so I couldn't see. So, I moved it down to just under my nose as I was mouth-breathing at this point anyway. I know it's not ideal, but breathing through the runny nose wasn't an option. And I was breathing hard. I was aware that at the top you step, breathe twice, step, breathe twice. But even down here, I was frequently taking one breath per step, or even two in the difficult areas.
At one of our breaks, I mentioned that I felt my heart rate was up, even after I caught my breath. The guide pulled out his pulse oximeter, mostly just to play. My oxygen level was actually quite good- 88%, as good as the guide- but my heart rate was way too high, as I thought. My partner, on the other hand, had an ok heart rate, but his oxygen was lower. Not at a dangerous level, but much lower.
We both had started diamox 2 days before the hike, as required. Our pills were 250mg, and I found out later that US pills are 125 mg. When we started hiking, we took one with breakfast and one with dinner, as recommended, but we were getting twice as much as some other people. Still, it was half the maximum dose, so we felt ok. One of the diamox side effects is tingling lime pins and needles in your hands and toes. I periodically got that in my toes, and occasionally my lips, but no so much my fingers. It was annoying, but not enough to stop or reduce the diamox, as we needed the oxygen.
At another break, we snacked. I always offered to share my snacks with whoever was nearby, but my partner took this to a new level. He held out his roll of oreos as some porters passed by and offered to each one. The line of porters was immediately followed by a hiking group, and then some more porters. He was like the water distributors at a race, until he ran out of oreos.
At one point during the day, we were walking at a good pace through a relatively flat rock field. I looked around, and only saw the guides and myself. I assumed that they knew where my partner was. After a few minutes, I asked them. They said he must be peeing behind a rock. I shouted his name. No response.
They assistant guide went on ahead to search for him as I panickedly continued on at the pace I could maintain. I was afraid he went to pee, but then slipped on a rock and hurt himself and didn't have any help. I was afraid he had fallen over the edge. I was afraid he was dead- or worse. I kept imagining them sending a search party back for him. Mostly, I was afraid that his mom would kill me for putting the idea of this trip into his head if he got hurt on it.
Eventually, we got word that he had just gone up ahead. Then, I was mad. He's not 2 years old and should know to stick with the guide. Still, when I finally caught up to him, I was just relieved he was ok.
Today, we climbed up and down a lot. By the time we got to camp (Karanga, 4km/13000 ft), I had worked up quite an appetite. I was happy that the food was good (even without hot sauce)- cheese sandwiches, "pizza," and battered fried veg (either big zucchini or small eggplant, I couldn't tell).
After food, I attempted to do a proper cleaning of everything, but everything is so covered in dirt that it's hard. Still, baby wipes feel nicer when they're not freezing. Also, we had a pen explode, so in addition to a dirt mess, we had blue ink everywhere. And I took a much-needed nap.
We powwowed and discussed options for summiting, given that my partner isn't really sleeping at night. I'm making it, but slowly. Also, I think my cough and runny nose are getting worse, and not better. We have a couple of different options, and we'll see what we end up with.
In any case, the porters today are pulling water up to both this camp (Karanga) and the next camp (Barafu). The next camp is not that far. Many people cut their trip shorter by a day by combining both today's hike and tomorrow's into one day. That would be too much for us though.
I may be an adrenaline junkie, but this is not a trip for an adrenaline junkie. It's actually rather boring to put one foot in front of the other over, and over, and over. The scenery is neat (like being in an airplane), but not so spicy and varied that it really keeps me entertained. Plus, in order not to slip, most of my scenery is the ground anyway. Actually, the biggest adrenaline rush I get (other than from worrying about a missing partner) is whenever I slip. There's that moment where I can't quite tell whether I'm going to catch myself or whether this is the end of the mountain for me.
In any case, I just keep Lauren Graham's advice (from Talking as Fast as I Can) in my head: keep going, keep going. Eventually, I'll get as far as I can, and I'll get back down on my own two feet and move on to the next part of the trip. I can't wait to shower and get rid of all of this grime.
By the way- I had brought this no shower shampoo as my hair usually gets really greasy really fast. (I usually use Prell, described by Tina Fey in Bossypants as "you know it's good shampoo because you can also use it to clean a frying pan.") I'm not sure it did so much against the grime, but it did make me feel a little less smelly.
Tonight, it's even colder than other nights. My partner has gotten even more creative, using a plastic carry sack on the outside of his mummy bag for extra warmth. He's still got his head outside the tent and his body in the entrance though.
Meanwhile, I have 2 sleeping bag liners, the mummy bag, 2 pairs of socks, thermals and sweats, the coat I brought from Antarctica, a hat, and gloves. I'm inside the tent.
On the one hand, I get that a smaller tent is easier to heat and keep warm, on the other hand, it's quite a pain to crawl into and out of it. It's a pain to get dressed while sitting down. I think that I'd prefer a full-size tent I can stand in and just wear more layers at night to the short tent that's a tad warmer.

Posted by spsadventures 10:18 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Kilimanjaro Day 3- Barranco

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

I woke with the light, sound of tent zippers, and rumble of voices.
Again, everything was covered in frost. Today, that included my partner. Even at home, he will open windows during the winter in order to get sufficient air flow. Here, he felt suffocated by the tent. So, he popped his head outside and slept like that.
frosty morning camp

frosty morning camp


I woke hungry, which is a good sign of acclimatization as this is about the point where people start losing their appetites. I'm not sure how much non-egg protein I'm getting from the peas and green beans in the veg here, but I brought some tofu jerky from Taiwan and that has made me feel good.
Other small things that make me feel good: baby wipe showers, changing out of my gross clothes and walking around camp basically in pjs, stretching, and brushing teeth. My suggestion for ladies- don't have your hair out to collect the dust. You'll likely feel better in a braid or something that you can set and forget.
I ate too much at breakfast and didn't feel great at the beginning of the hike, but by the time we were an hour from lunch, I was ready for a snack.
The hike started out with plants that came up to my knees and a smattering of trees as tall as me. Later, it turned into short plants in a field of rocks. For me, that's a difficult path as I really don't want to slip and fall and break/sprain/twist anything.
above the clouds

above the clouds


The rocks looked really awesome though. They were covered in a lichen or short moss so dark red that it looked black. Then, dangly orange moss grew on top of that, making it seem like the rocks were dripping fire.
rock field

rock field


We started seeing patches of snow on the ground. Then, it started to flurry, which was cool. Then, it started to really snow, which required putting on the rain gear. We trudged through the snow, trying to reach the shelter that awaited us at lava tower. September is supposed to be the dry season, where it doesn't really rain, but now we had serious precipitation 2 days in a row. When they tell you that the weather is unpredictable, they mean it.
Finally, we arrived at Lava Tower Camp (4.6 km altitude), where food and a restroom was already set up for us. I had no appetite, but ate what I could.
You think today is an easy 10k as the total altitude change from camp to camp is only 100m, but first, you climb to the Lava Tower and then you climb down. It's good for acclimatization, but makes for a rough long day.
We waited out the snow along with another group. When it stopped pouring snow, we headed downhill and passed them. The path was narrow but smooth, so I was making good time. But then the path turned rocky and I know I'm slow, so I sat aside to let them pass. When I got up, my pants ripped on the rock I had been sitting on. (Fortunately, the guys duct taped it back at camp.)
We continued downhill and uphill, crossing streams that were flowing with fresh rain (lower elevations had rain and not snow.) Again, I was trying really hard not to slip. The trail was rocky, uneven, and now wet and muddy with little water flows. I kept thinking of my little sister telling me how stupid of an idea it was to go hiking in these conditions, and was extra careful.
We saw some really cool plants on the way down to the camp. At the time, I was too focused on the path to have noticed them without the guides pointing them out, but once I stopped to "smell the roses" I was glad. The guides identified them as giant sinessia, robellia, and Erica arborea.
funky plans DSCF2586

funky plans DSCF2586


By the time we arrived at camp, I was miserable and almost unable to hold my head up. Everything hurt- my neck from looking down at the obstacle-ridden path all day, my head, my esophagus (I had some sort of acid reflux that Tums did nothing for), my legs, my arms, my palms, my brain. And of course I had a runny nose and bad cough to top it off.
I headed straight for the hot cocoa and barely touched the food. After food, I only felt slightly better, and started asking our guide about my options. I wanted to know what sites you needed to helicopter out of, what sites had cut overs to the exit path, and how to know when it was time to give up.
I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll wake up having forgotten about today. I know my mental faculties aren't 100% and I'm concerned that will cause me to misjudge a step and then twist/sprain/break something. At this point, my goal is to get out on my own 2 feet- no helicopter or stretchers. I don't even care how high I make it, I just want to get out in one piece.
raven DSCF2561

raven DSCF2561

Posted by spsadventures 06:00 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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