I struggled a bit today. We hiked up to 14,500 feet. It was very steep, and the return to camp a bit tricky with rocks and shale – easy to slip on. I have that bad headache back again now. Guides gave me tylenol on the hike (they do not allow us to self-medicate). I have never been so cold and yet so hot at the same time. I need to explain this feeling later in a future blog. Our guides checked me out at lunch but they truly think it’s just a reaction to the intense sun and exertion. I’m not the only member of the team with the same struggle right now.
I have a funny story that my Nunavut and all Canadian friends will enjoy. I asked whether the stone cairns everywhere were memorials for climbers and porters who had passed away, similar to the Everest Base Camp Expedition. The guide said, “No…Canadians come, they build. They call them… um… Inukshuks”. That made me grin and laugh.
I want you all to know though I am good overall. With the one exception that my stupid Camelback leaked three litres of water in my tent overnight! The backpack tipped over and the pressure on the bite valve caused it to open. My thanks to the porters that dried out my sleeping bag in the sun while we did our day acclimatization hike. They had to weigh everything down though with rocks to ensure the high winds did not take it all the way back to Moshi! The whole incident I will admit made me a bit cranky. Maybe that’s why I had an off-day.
The head guide Thobias thanked me today to helping out one of the other team members. My fellow climber was struggling with heat stroke and dehydration. It felt good to feel I was making a difference, as team sports were never something in my history. This is a team through and through. The guides, knowing my medical history, listen to my lungs every morning with a stethoscope and I am pleased to report everything is clear and in good health.
I will admit that I’m surprised to see just how many people there are on this mountain. I see now why certain parts of the mountain park need protection. By the way, also in our team is a mountaineer who is summiting Kili for a second time now, having first summited twelve years ago. We also have an Ironman competitor.
As a final note for this blog, after another post-climb check-up of all climbers, the guides gave me O2. I now am pleased to say I am feeling a bit better.
Bye for now from Mt. Kilimanjaro. R