Mount Kilimanjaro, September 8th

On any type of adventure, there always comes a point where I wonder why I am doing this to myself.  Well, on the Kilimanjaro climb, this morning was the point.

Without getting much sleep, I got up at 6 am with a pounding headache and a sore throat.  The air was very dry and my nose bled.  My lips were chapped, and the skin on my face felt like it was going to crack.  Oh I was not a happy camper!  Why couldn’t I just settled for a luxury safari, or more time on the beach in Zanzibar?  Why couldn’t I pick something easier to do?  Who do I think I was, trying to climb this big mountain?

I popped some Advil for the headache, and wished there was some kind of “anti-suckyness” pill I could take.  Everything sucked.

Yesterday I was grateful to be here, and today I was losing my mind.  I had to talk myself out of the negativity, and get my act together.  I forced myself to think about my goal to reach the summit, and all the love and support from friends and family back home.  I can’t afford to give in to my self pity and disappoint everyone.

I thought about my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s.  She has always been cheerful, despite the challenges of life.  She lavished much love and attention on me as the first grandchild of the entire family.  I haven’t seen her for 3 1/2 years now, and I would love to visit her in Taiwan this Christmas and tell her about this climb.

I thought about all my colleagues who gave me words of encouragement to climb this mountain.  Even people whom I have never met before sent me e-mails wishing me luck.  A few people shared openly about their family members who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and the challenges they go through.  How can I disappoint them!

Eventually, I pulled out of the funk, and got back my positive attitude.  I had breakfast and a few more Advils.  The team went for an acclimatization hike up a scree slope, gaining roughly 500 ft of altitude as practice.  This process is suppose to help ease the altitude sickness for the next day.

We spent a lazy afternoon reading, journaling, and chit chatting.

 

We were very well fed on the mountain.  A typical snack would be coffee, tea, fruit, popcorn, and muffins:

 

 

 

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