July 10, 2015

"pole pole"

Kilimanjaro was an experience all on it's own. Can I just say I appreciate life so much more after this trip?! Like camping and not showering for 6 days was difficult. I am so thankful that my parents came to do this with me, for if they were not there I wouldn't have done this. It was so freaking amazing. I really don't know how to describe my experience. 

Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, the roof of Africa and one of the world's largest volcanos. I did it. I climbed mount kilimanjaro. It feels so good to say that. The climb was amazing, you climbed through 5 different climate zones, the cultivated zone, the forest, the heather and moorland, the desert, and the summit (glacier). We climbed with G adventures and I am so glad we did because they are the best! Gipson was our main guide and then eden and danny. We had about 20 porters. They were amazing!! They held so much and some of them didn't have the best hiking shoes. We hiked up the Rongai route and down the marangu route which was great cause we got to see more of the mountain. And Rongai is beautiful and less crowded so there was barely anyone ont he mountain. Here's a day to day on how we climbed in 6 days.

We got to Moshi where we got to the hotel and met the staff and other clients in our group! We had orientation and packed and such. I was very anxious. We hiked with yuya, hannah, lara, and rebecca. It was fun getting to know them throughout the trip. We were like family by the end. We seriously were the best group! I was surprised how well we got along. 
We woke up early to drive about 3 hours to the start of Rongai route. We hiked through a forest pretty much all day to Simba camp. We had the same lunches everyday which we pretty gross. The hike wasn't that steep and it rained just a bit which was the only day it rained. The squat pot there was so gross...that's pretty much all I remember and that we went straight to sleep right when we got there. Also the diamox made us pee a bunch and have tingly hands, so fun right!? i got REALLY good at going to the bathroom while squatting, it's a talent. The dinners were always really good. soup!!!
We then hiked to kikelelwa camp. Pretty much the bushes just got smaller and smaller. And it got colder at night. BUT the stars oh heavens the stars the next few nights were unREAL. like we had perfect weather. and the stars being the high up..gah. perfect. also I loved playing card games with the boys. I taught them B.S. it was so funny holy cow.
We hiked to Mawenzi Tarn camp. It was a long day through grassy slopes and majestic views. Mawenzi is a little peak on the mountain and we camped next to a little lake. It was way pretty. That night Lara really didn't feel good and so she left the next day with danny :( dang altitude sickness. the boys did lots of dancing and singing for us. oh my goodness they are great. We made up a little song to "in the jungle the mighty jungle" for them. 
Then we hiked slowly to kibo hut which is base camp. We hiked through the saddle and got to see an airplane that crashed several years ago so that was pretty cool. I started really feeling the altitude then. I felt fine though. It's just a little hard to breathe with no air, you feel me!? "can't live can't breathe without air" -jordin sparks. getting to base camp was a good feeling but it meant that night we summited...SO much anxiety. We took a nap when we go there in the afternoon, woke up at dinner, and then went back to sleep, got three hours of sleep, wake up at 11pm to summit. It's all a blur cause i was so tired.
We had our headlamps, gloves, layers of clothes, gators, chocolate, jelly beans and moms electrolytes. It took us a long time to summit. I think I could have gone faster but we were a team and some people were really not feeling well. Erick, took my bag like halfway up which was so helpful. He was so nice and we bonded cause we were the same age and he played music I knew off his phone. We went sooooo slow. All I heard those 6 days was "pole pole" which means slowly slowly. We were pretty much slow motion it was hilarious (kind of). I was feeling okay I just had my mind on the peak and I was not going to let myself not make it. Mind set is everything! Gipson, Lazareth, Eden, and Erick took us up. They were AMAZING. they had soooo much energy when all of us had the hardest time breathing. I never was cold, only my fingers. I had to take off layers at the top. the boys sang us up the whole way. I couldn't have done it without them. They kept us going. We all encouraged eachother up. It took us over 6 hours to get to the top at gilman's point. We got there right at sunrise. The sunrise was beautiful!!!! ah amazing. I was so happy to get there and then gipson said okay let's get to the peak, the highest point it Uhuru. I saw it across the mountain and it looked so far....in reality it wasn't so bad but with the altitude and with how tired we were it was so hard. I was dying. I finally made it to the top and it was amazing. You could see mt meru and ahhh i love being above the clouds. You could see the glaciers and the crater. We took some pictures and grabbed some rocks and then headed back down. I felt so weird. I really didn't feel good. Luckily I had gators cause we like slid down the sleet which would have been fun if i didn't feel like crap. I was so dehydrated and I needed food. Cause I barely ate or drank anything. Getting to base camp was an amazing site. I felt like crap though. We took a nap, ate, and then headed to horombo hut. I felt a lot better and it was fun going down another route. so pretty. the sunset was gorg that night. horombo hut actually had huts, lol but we were in tents, i was so sick of camping. It was so cold every night. I was so happy to have summited.
The last dayyy! shower dayy! it was a long day hiking down but i was so happy. We had a warm lunch which was good. I hiked the last half with hannah, yuya, and gipson. Hiking through the forest was beautiful. When I saw the end sign...i couldn't believe my eyes. We got certificates for making it to the top. I was so proud of myself and everyone!!! SO amazing. On the bus riding to the hotel I was a little sad that this adventure was over. We had gotten so close. I miss everyone! I couldn't have done it without them.

I still can't believe I hiked it. I hiked the tallest mountain in africa. what. I learned that if you have your mind set on something you can do anything. It was the hardest physical thing I have done but it was the best thing.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! Congrats on summiting Natalie. I have done this also, so I know how hard - and how rewarding - this experience can be. Your photos are great. Thanks for choosing G Adventures!

    Kind Regards,

    Lyndon File
    Manager, Customer Experience
    G Adventures