Email sent from Tanzania
Ahhhhhhhhhh! I'M ALIVE!!!!!!!!! Yeah! I hear you say!!!!
Don't worry you nearly got your wish - I nearly died!
I must say before I begin - THANK YOU for your warm wishes, smart arse comments, snickering and straight out laughter I received in reply to my emotional farewell email. BUT I KNOW YOU LOVE ME!!! - AND YES YOU STILL MISS ME!!! - you do - don't you??????? don't you???
OK - so let me tell you - ahhhhhh!
Day 1 started off alright I thought - I felt sick - but heck I was about to torture myself just to take a photo at a top of a mountain and that is - if I didn't die of altitude sickness first - or a straight out heart attack... As the hours progressed I realised that I had been assigned a complete lunatic for a guide (not sure he was a guide come to think of it) - and he obviously had some insane idea that if we raced and beat everyone else to the top we would be given a gold medal and maybe be eligible to compete in the next Olympics! Ahhhhhhhh! The motto on the mountain is 'pole pole' - meaning slowly slowly. The formula I was told was drink plenty of water (at least 4 to 5 litres per day) and go 'pole pole' and you will make it. Imaging my horror as we pass everyone on day 1 and he comes to my tent that night to tell me that the next day I really need to challenge myself. I should have just bludgeoned him to death with a rock in that instant -
BUT NO - I thought OK challenge - right - this guy is mad but I'll show him (obviously the altitude was already effecting my brain)
Day 2 appeared to be fine except I should have known something was going to go wrong when I was given only 1 litre (yes - that's right - only 1 litre) of water for a 5 hrs steep rock climb. Everything went fine until we reached camp and there was no water - and I was dehydrated and 2hrs later the headache started and then an hour later the nausea kicked in and then my life was coming to a complete halt. (YOU KNOW I HATE THROWING UP) - It took them 3 hrs to get me water! Ahhhhhh!
AND he tells me you should stop taking Diamox (altitude medication) Ahhhhh! - I seriously should have killed him there and then.
Day 3 we headed off with him knowing I was now suffering altitude sickness (don't worry I doubled the medication ) but the next 8hrs of my life would be the worse - every step was an effort and a nightmare and my head was about to explode and I was sure I was going to throw up. 'No' he tells me 'No - it's just nausea - you wont throw up' - He was now walking in front of me and I swear that I had serious visions on clubbing him to death with my hiking sticks (I should have)
NOT TO WORRY - exactly 7hrs and 45min later I would resemble a scene from the Exorcist (That shut him up) and scared half the hikers. Word was out that a female was dying on the track. I would like to mention at this point (unlike Alex in Colorado) - I actually managed to remember not to throw up on the path at least.
BOY DID I FEEL BETTER THOUGH. On the other hand the guide's days were numbered...
The Rangers came to the tent that night to make sure I was OK to continue and would not have to be rescued of the mountain - ha ha ha - I told them I felt 'FANTASTIC' (compared to the last 8hrs I did!) and then they said Ok and tried to sell me a t-shirt - Oh my God!!!
Anyway - we continued on a merry way without any more dramas after I seriously had words with him and threatened to kill him. POLE POLE from now on.
So - the day of the summit- we wake at midnight and start the hike at 12.30am - Ahhhhh! There is a God!!!!! The guide was suffering from altitude sickness (vomiting, bleeding nose etc etc) and the nice porter which I called my "angel" (Kevin) led the way. Yeah!!!!! we did a prayer at the start and I seriously prayed to stay alive and off we went. I must admit it was an amazing sight to see about 300 people weaving their way up a mountain with headlights on - amazing. The breathing got hard within the first 2 min and I estimated my age at around 60 within the first 10 min. After an hour I felt 80 and with every step I aged another day. By the time we were nearing the top I honestly felt about 140 in need of a heart and lung transplant. Everyone was taking a step every 5 seconds or so - no faster. Amazing what altitude can do. People were throwing up and crying. BUT - I managed to hold it together (well something that resembled composure) until about 200mtrs from the top and I just thought - NO WAY!!!! I will die and why the hell am I doing this (actually I thought that within the first 5 min to be truthful) and then 'my angel' grabbed my arm and said 'you've come this far - you are already a hero - you can make it all the way' - of course I burst into tears and now resembled every other emotional idiot that thought death was at the door. He helps me walk another 100mtrs until I see the sign - and says 'there it is - you're own your own - I'm heading back' - WHAAAAAAAAT?????
The look on my face said it all he just laughed - NOT FUNNY!!!! Another guide said 'everyone cries going up and everyone laughs going down' so true.
Finally at 7.30am 18th Sept - I MADE IT!!!!!! Actually as you can see from the photos (I was even nice enough to include some death looking ones for your amusement) - TED ALSO MADE IT!!!I must say I think he's put on weight because I just couldn't carry him anymore after the first 3hrs and 'my angel' carried him for me - I think I actually begged him to carry me instead and let Ted fend for himself... hee heee heee
Anyhow - another 8hrs later we reached the next camp at 3,30pm (a 15hr day) and boy was I ready for a feed and sleep.
The last day and I was told it was only a 3hr hike through rain-forest and that was it! - yeahhhhhh! Oh my GOD!!!!!! - it was slippery rocks dropping straight down another 5000ft and then 5km (no kidding) of mud - MUD!!!!! I say - up to my ankles and splashing up to my knees as my boots sunk and every step was a nightmare. I just wanted to sit down in it and call it a day! I even screamed for someone to get the rescue team - I was not taking another step!!!!!! Ok so I did - (only because they refused to rescue me) and some 5hrs later we reached the cars and people were charging to wash your boots. I'm sure they did the mud thing on purpose just to make some money at the end.
I GOT MY CERTIFICATE!!!!!!!!
AND then - I went to a hotel (the best $150 I've ever spent) and as you can see from the photos - I took my first of many baths and then 2 showers (did you notice from the photos that you wear the same clothes for 7 days with no water to even wash your hands - ahhhhhh! no - don't try and think about it) - I try not to -ha ha ha
Anyway Ted and I layed in bed and watched movie after movie whilst room service delivered tray after tray of food and then I slept like a baby.... You will be glad to know - ONLY A WEEK TO GO!!!!!!!!! I fly out next Thurs morning - Oh my God!!! I'm actually looking forward to seeing you all! (I might still have a touch of altitude sickness lingering).
Till we meet again...LUV from me...
Marg... (and Ted) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
CLIMBING WITH : Lasi Tours
THE TEAM - Private Climb
The highest mountain in Africa (TANZANIA)
DATES:13th - 20th September 2010
Adventure continues on safari...