Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Valentines Day Drill

Karanga Camp (February 14th)- Valentines day! We acknowledged it by going, ‘Guess what, its Valentines Day.’ That’s as much energy we were willing to part with for this day. I was forced to take a picture with Pi and that was that.

Freddie with his transistor
The Dawg dancing to Swahili music

Herment pointed at a vertical wall next to our campsite that we would be climbing to get to Karanga camp. ‘Its very easy hike today’ he said. I had stopped believing this guy..for a good measure too. Last time he said it was easy, I was willing to trade my life for a day in Hell.

Fearless leader- Herment

So there we were, scrambling up the ‘Breakfast Wall’, which is a rather tame name for something that needed all the four limbs to maneuver. Very scary in parts, almost vertical but mostly fun. Gained altitude pretty quick and passed some lovely valleys walking amidst the clouds. Had to stop and look back to sigh at the pretty sight that we would leave behind. After we caught sight of the Karanga camp (which seemed like we could reach it in 5 minutes), there was still an hour of downhill to Karanga valley and uphill.

Antony helping Lee

Karanga valley was the last source of water. So from now on, porters would carry all the water for the rest of the days. We would be very prudent with our usage. No more water balloon throwing activities.

We had hot lunch at Karanga Camp ( 13,300 ft) and spend the afternoon playing cards as hail and rain pounded our tents. I had a terrible headache that wouldn’t go away, so I took Tylenol. The headaches subsided, but came back with a vengeance at night. The weather calmed down and the clouds parted to reveal Kibo for maybe 10 minutes. I watched with awe the symphony of ice and rock, intertwined in harmony. Even as we neared the peak, I had a sense that Kibo was mocking our unwise fortitude. That night when I came out to take a pee break, I could see the city lights from Moshi and Arusha under me, the stars shining over me and the moonlit peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. There was a lightening and for a brief second, the place lit up to reveal the other tents in the Karanga Camp. I shivered as I plowed my way into the tent and spent sometime doodling in my little dairy. I switched off my head lamp to conserve the batteries and spent some hours flopping like a seal unable to sleep. With depleting oxygen levels, every activity including eating became hard. I would yawn and spend the next few minutes panting and puffing. Acclimatization was in progress as we spent more time in the mountain. It was definitely getting tougher to remain upbeat.

The peak from our tent and the toilet


Rationale said...

The Peak, the Tent and the Toilet. Thats all one needs to feel alive! :)

wa said...

Wow sounds amazing. Looking fwd to more alpha (and less of the ziploc bag stuff pls :))

bloghopper said...

Hey Alpha, you so readily put up dawg's photo. What about the frontal pix of yourself and Lee ?

Alpha said...

bh: your prayers are answered..thatastu!