The mountain that took my breath away …literally

On our drive to Mt. Kilimanjaro, we were under the impression that it was only an hour and 15 minutes away. Well little did we know it was actually two and a half hours away, which drained me mentally. At that point, all of my motivation was starting to go away but I was still excited to see the mountain.

When we arrived at the registration area it was starting to rain but just a little sprinkle nothing that we couldn’t handle. However, by the time we were all finished signing in it was a complete down pour. Luckily we all had rain coats and ponchos. I even had my umbrella. I wasn’t feeling too worried about climbing the mountain in the rain. I mean why worry everyone said they were going to be going pole, pole (slowly, slowly). Yeah right, that was a flat-out, straight up, lie. People started out walking like they were just going up the hill to the corner store to get some milk, not like they were going to be walking/climbing an actual mountain for the next 6+ hours. In the beginning I was just in the mindset of keeping up. However, after the first couple of minutes I said forget it. I needed to take my time. I knew that with my condition it would not be a good idea to push myself too hard. I slowly started to fall back and so did Shelly, one of our assistant teachers. Shelly and I just took our time climbing the mountain.

During the climb, it wasn’t necessarily what I imagined it would be. I thought there was going to be a nice view at some point. I thought that it would be a little more open, to see things around you. Little did I know it was nothing but trees, trees, trees, and more trees. We continued to walk and we finally mad it up to the half way mark, which was where we were able to use the restroom and have a little snack if we wanted. Well we got there in perfect timing because like my mom says, “ my flower was wilting” and that means its time for some food and water. There was no one else from our group at the rest stop; they had all continued on to the hut. After our little rest, I felt a little better to continue on with the hike. I didn’t feel as shaky and weak as we moved forward. Well that energy boost didn’t last for long because after a good 45 minutes, I was just ready to get out of there. I started to feel claustrophobic being surrounded by nothing but trees and bugs. At times it would even feel like it was hard to breath. There was no sunlight because it was raining and cloudy the entire time; but even if there was sunlight you wouldn’t be able to see much above because there was nothing but trees covering over your head. I decided to tell Shelly that I was fine with only walking for maybe 15-20 more minutes and then I was ready to turn back. I mean hey, the farther you walk in the longer of a walk you have to get out and when you are having trouble breathing and you feel claustrophobic, the last thing you want to do is make your hike out even longer. So our hiking guide Steven ran forward to catch up with the other group to let them know not to wait for us at the hut. When Steven came back he said that they were only about 10 minutes ahead of us; so I didn’t feel that bad. I still felt accomplished.

Looking back on the hike, yes I was extremely excited to get out/off of the mountain but I am glad that I had this opportunity to push myself to try something new. I do think that I could go even farther up the mountain on a sunny day when its not pouring rain. It has been about three days since the hike so would I say that I would like to climb the mountain again? No, at least not anytime soon. Maybe in my future I will have the chance to come back and climb with my family or friends from home but right now I would be fine if I never had to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro ever again. Mt. Kilimanjaro really did give me a good workout and showed me whose boss.

Even though I didn’t concur the mountain and I didn’t make it to the hut, I am really proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish. 🙂

~Fawn T.

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