Every step is an effort...
It's getting considerably
worse. I'm walking on snow and ice as I cross the
glacier that's the top of Kili. It's only another
300 feet to climb, but it takes me almost two and
a half hours to cover that territory. Every step is
are others with headaches and nausea, but none of
the usual symptoms of acute mountain sickness are
affecting me; instead, every time I stop to rest I
fall asleep. When I reach the summit, 19,340 feet,
I struggle to get my camera out of my daypack, an
action that requires every bit of energy I can muster.
I pass my camera to another mountain hero, get my
picture taken, and then begin the descent.
been more miserable...
Going down is
at least as hard as going up. Boulders behind me,
the scree now ahead of me ... an endless vista of
bumpy sand. Scree run! No more zigzagging. Face straight
down. I'm cross-country skiing. My feet glide as my
speed increases. Too fast! Fall down. Hours pass.
I reach Kibo, but this is still too high for resting;
there's another set of huts 3,000 feet lower and that's
the destination for the night. The sun is going down
now. It's almost 7:30 at night. I've been walking
for nearly 19.5 hours. I've never been more miserable
in my life. Why am I doing this?
Watch out world...
I crawl right
into my sleeping bag in a small, cold hut. I sip the
hot broth my guide has brought me. I listen to the
breathing of my climbing buddies, rub my legs, and
slowly fall into a deep sleep. My last thoughts before
fading into the night? "Someday I'll be glad that
I did this. Someday. Not today."
On day six,
after eight more hours of walking, I reach the Mt.
Kilimanjaro Park gates once again. The rest of my
group has been there for a couple of hours already
and meet me with exhausted irritation. I climb onto
the bus that will take me back to a hotel and hot
showers. As I look out the window and see the profile
of Mt. Kilimanjaro moving into the distance, I smile.
I'm 50. I'm a woman who's climbed Kili. Watch out
words on perseverance...
When you get in
a tight place and everything goes against you till
it seems as though you could not hold on a minute
longer, never give up then, for that is just the time
and the place the tide will turn.
is bound to arrive somewhere if you follow it far
Patricia Wentworth, 1938
You can eat
an elephant one bite at a time.
Mary Kay Ash,
dearie. They differs a lot. Some can stand things
that others can't. There's never no way of knowin?
how much they can stand.
Anne Petrie, 1946