Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Roof of Africa: Climbing Kilimanjaro
Day 1 was solitary and only saw a handful of trekkers coming back with speed walking efficiency down the mountain, while Issa and I ambled down the pathway, together, but alternating moments of solitude and conversation. The looming mountaintop that seemed miles away made me instantly pensieve, lost in my own thoughts. Could I climb up... there? Every time my mind wandered, I tried to bring it back here, to now, to the mountain. "Pole-Pole," he would say almost a hundred times a day, as if to himself.
The end of the day led us to camp one, 2800 meters above sea level. The silence was deafening, almost frightening at times. The wisdom is in the trees, said Jack Johnson, not the glass windows. Theres so much the wind and silence have to say, I spent the night in thought of how I always run out of time to share with the world outside.
For the next hour and a half, we trudged up the dirt path on the West face of the mountain and stood side-by-side of each other, listening to each other breathe. One in, One out. And repeat. As the day unfolded in perfect silence, our breath started coming in longer and deeper bursts. Our diaphragms expanded and we became more audible as we noticed our bodies working harder to obtain the oxygen we needed. The night was cold, and talking to someone required you to look slightly to one side, lest they become englufed in your visible smoke-like breath.
Day 4: Believe.