The Kilimanjaro Diary: Day 2 – Machame Camp (3000m) to Shira Camp (3840m) (12 March 2013)


The Power of Dreams

I woke up on Day 2 feeling better. Feeling stronger. Feeling content. I woke up and did some stretching and basic yoga posturing. I know why I started to feel better. I started to feel better because of my dreams.

It sounds new-age and hokey, but it’s true. Whenever I have things that are on my mind at the end of the night, it means that I go to bed with those things on the mind. And those things on my mind often end up as topics in my dreams. I only can remember some part of those dreams, but the two dreams that I remember with clarity was actually a memory replayed in my mind and a nightmare. The memory was my graduation dinner/party with my family. I was talking with my Aunt Lulu and my sister Roxanne about how good to felt to have graduated and how I knew I couldn’t have done it without my family behind me. My sister told me that “the family will always support you no matter what” and my aunt had given me a hug and told me she was proud of me because “i never give up and a find a way, even if I had to work 2 jobs to support myself in college.” The nightmare was that I was running through a maze being chased by something. And everytime it almost caught me, I would somehow manage to escape it. Sometimes I jumped over the wall of the maze, sometimes a cut a hole into the maze and made my own path. In the end of my nightmare the thing chasing me caught me and I woke up. But somehow between all of my dreams, I was happy and determined. In my dreams I had found the answers and motivation that I needed.

And thanks to the pain killers and the diamox, I was pain-free and feeling like I had a lot of energy.

The 800m ascent

Today felt different. It was different. For one, I finally started wearing the kit that is appropriate for trekking up a mountain…

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Also, I had started to feel better. And without being a scientist, I have some ideas as to why:

  1. Acclimatisation trumped everything else. All things being equal, we slowed down the ascent pace so that roughly every 45-60 minutes we took a break. It might have been a break for pictures, lunch, bio-needs, snack, whatever. But I found that roughly for every 150-200 meters we ascended, a break helped me to get use to the higher altitude. My thinking was the reward was the same whether you were the firs tor last one to arrive to the next camp: tea and snacks, some hot water for washing, dinner, and your tent. I was no longer going to rush it or feel rushed. And in Christina I had a great and understanding friend in my approach to getting up the mountain.
  2. Better use of energy. I had to trek up the mountain in a way that took advantage of my physical skills. Long-slow horizontal climbs and descents take a lot of energy out of me. So during those times I went particularly slow to conserve energy and on steep ascents or descents I increased speed.
  3. Good use of hiking poles. For me, this was another big big win. And I encourage anyone doing trekking to have a good set of hiking poles. In the end the hiking poles were were like an extra set of legs than an extension of my arms. And they made me lighter.
  4. I gave myself the emotional energy to reach the summit. Reaching the summit was no longer about “I paid so much money therefore I have to reach the summit”. Reaching the summit became about knowing with the support of family and friends, I could dream big dreams, I could be inspiring to those I care about, I could prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t actually ever envision myself at the Uruhu Peak summit, I envisioned sharing stories about what it was like to others. That kept me going.

All of that being said, I still didn’t feel good enough to take pictures, even though I felt significantly better than yesterday. But I think that I have found my rhythm and a way of trekking the mountain that works for me and that the others can live with. So tonight will be more of the same – rest, pain killers, and as Ashard keeps saying, plenty of water (and in my case sports and vitamin drinks).

The pictures here on Day 2 are still courtesy of the generosity of Christina 🙂 Notice that the further up we climb, the less flora and fauna there is. There are however, white-necked raven with huge beaks that hang around a lot as we are trekking. But there is still a quiet beauty and calm about it all that has to be experienced to be appreciated.

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The day was just psychologically so much better than Day 1. Even if I am not eating very much due to not having a big appetite as a result of feeling bad and a headache, I can’t complain about the food so far and I do force myself to eat and drink a lot of liquid in order to give myself the energy for Day 3. At least now I am going to have an early night because I am genuinely tired from the trek, instead of having an early night because it feels miserable to be awake.

From Day 3 the some of the posts will have video…just as soon as I figure out how that works on the blog here. 🙂

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