Thought of the day

The cost for my upcoming expedition to Aconcagua has been tremendously greater than when I hiked Kilimanjaro. I believe the secret lies in the fact that I hiked one mountain, but that I’ll be going on an expedition up the other.

If your memory is exhausted or if you have extreme

This is more of a formality than anything since I already posted the epicness of day 7, but there was a day 8 on the mountain. We had already descended below 10,000 feet by the end of day 7, so we didn’t have terribly far to go. Of course, going down is tougher in many regards because it really kills the knees, but reciting Mitch Hedberg’s repertoire half the time made things go quite a bit faster.

Here is everyone walking through the rain forest.

And here is goodness.

(Picture by Mike.)

You will have memories soon from now

This is day 7. We left camp at 12:15am. We were told it was in the 30’s, but I’m from Maine and I’ve been in the cold. It was at least in the 20’s, if not a little lower. Combine that with the low oxygen and relative lack of sleep and a tough night was ahead of us. And of course, it was worth every uncomfortable moment to reach that summit.

This first one is from just below Stella Point.

I’m not sure of the name of the peak in the distance in this one. Sure is purdy, though.

Here’s one of the remaining glaciers atop the mountain – the only place glaciers make an appearance in Africa. They used to be much larger, extending well down the side of the mountain. Gee, I wonder what’s to blame for their demise.

This next one doesn’t do the landscape justice. (Really, none of these do.) Despite the glaciers shrinking over the years, they are still quite massive. If a person stood next to this, he would be a small speck.

And of course,

And finally, everyone. I honestly could not have picked a better group. (Sorry, people I personally know. These guys and gals were better.)

Discard flaming memories

Day 6. This day and day 7 were practically the same since we left this last camp around midnight. But until then, we enjoyed still having some oxygen. And a hell of a view.

And if I turn around,

Congrats, hiking buddies!

I know, I know. An exclamation point in the title? Well, this is one of the few times I can justify it because two members from my Kilimanjaro hiking group, Colin and Christie, just had their first child, Clay. I can’t imagine it happening to a better couple. Seriously, I recall talking with one other member of the group, Nicole, about what a wonderful couple they made – it was that apparent in the short time I spent with them. I’m glad to see such joy brought into their lives and I wish them the best. And as if a newborn wasn’t enough, happy belated anniversary to to them yesterday!

Burgers; checkmate; memories

Day 5. This is the Barranco Wall. It’s an 800 foot climb of steepness that takes a good chunk of time to defeat. Unless you’re a porter. In that case, it’s hardly noticeable. (Look closely and you’ll see a whole line of porters snaking their way up the wall.)

Heath memories

Day 4. This picture is the first clear view we had of the mountain.

This next one is from above the Shira Plateau, not to mention most of the clouds. (My profile picture to the left is from the same area.)

I didn’t get any great pictures of this next landmark – Lava Tower – because I had very little desire to do anything but descend to the next campground. You see, what happens is that the days will often include climbing to a particular height and then camping down lower. This allows one to acclimate better, especially for the sake of sleeping. But what it also does is cause absolutely intense headaches during the rapid ascent.

Full blown memories

You know the drill. Day 3, still moving across Shira Plateau.

Warm memories for washing

I’ve decided I’m going to make my post titles inside references for the rest of my walk down memory lane.

This was day 2, somewhere in the rain forest under what looked like Old Man’s Beard. (It wasn’t that. I just don’t remember its name.)

Since I’m matching each picture with the corresponding day from exactly a year ago, I’m going to post two pictures today so I can put up another:

This is from the end of day 2 at Shira Camp 2. I’m in the midst of the Shira Plateau here (if I turned 90 degrees to the left, I would be looking at Kilimanjaro quite clearly), looking at some awesome scenery. Also, there are poopshacks in the foreground. Pretty nice as far as poopshacks go.

Ah, memories

I’ve been reminded that it was a year ago I was walking in the shadows of Kilimanjaro. On this particular date, I was likely at Shira Camp 1, arriving just after nightfall (because time is more of a ballpark idea than a precise concept in Tanzania, evidently). The whole trip is something that means an awful lot to me and I’ll never forget it.

I’m going to make an effort to put up a picture from each day for the next week or so until I’ve matched each day last year until summit day.