Saturday, 17 September 2011

Day 5: Resting with zebras

The days have since lapsed and I am now sitting in a campsite near Tarangire national park, so the memory is getting vague...

The day after getting to Horombo was a rest day, otherwise known as an acclimatisation day. this day we climb to a higher altitude and then decent back to Horombo again.
We started the day a little later with breakfast at 0800 and we started walking at 0900. We all set off as usual but paid paticular attention to the pole pole rule of going slowly. It was a relatively short and uneventful walk till we got to zebra rocks.

Much to Harunes disappointment, there were no Zebras at zebra rocks! Rather we encountered a rock outcrop that was striped black and white. They were quite amazing. Though I knew better, it was the thought of many that the rocks had been painted, in fact they had become striped as a result of minerals running down the face in rain.
We rested. Climbed the face. Nissar climbed a rock... as usual... and we had the mandatory photos in various poses.
Then it was our first attempt at a decent. I was actually quite apprehensive because I didnt know how my knee or iliotibial band (ITB) would behave. It wasn't the wisest idea when I left Zebra rocks with a sprint either! One of the guides walking up the other way up reminded me to save my energy as we still had the hardest days ahead of us. So we stomped our way down and after not too long, we were back at Horombo. My ITB was hurting and I didn't fill me with confidence.
That evening, we met a guy who had just returned from the summit. His advise was stark. "take Diamox... Don't waste any time, take it!" He explained that as an experienced mountaineer, it was the hardest thing he had ever done. "It's unbelievably cold up there, my fingers and feet were absolutely freezing, wear the warmest gloves you can, take it slow, very slow."
In truth, his advise gave me the shivers. I was petrified, petrified that I might not make it. That night I did not sleep well at all. I knew that the next two days were going to be the ultimate test.

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