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Midnight on Kilimanjaro

Author: TS Buchanan
Date of Trip: October 2008



You need more chocolate but you can’t find it in your pocket. You know there’s food in your pack but now you wonder why you even brought the pack if everything in it is frozen and your hands are too cold to reach into it anyway. You find some two-day old trail mix in another pocket. You eat it along with the mountain dirt and the sand. The grit crunches in your teeth. You have to chew with your mouth open so you can breathe. Some of it falls out of your mouth and lands on your knee. You don’t care. Polé polé. Step, step, sniff.

mt kilimanjaroYou hit a plateau. The slow moving train of zombies with headlamps stops and people are cheering. You’re not sure why. A porter pulls out a thermos with hot water and hands out cashews. Sweet, beautiful porter with his hot water and his cashews. “Almost there,” explains your guide. Almost there. The sun is starting to rise and the slow moving train begins again. Polé polé. You round the corner and look up. Sweet Mother of God! All you see are three huge ridges separating you and the summit. The plateau with the hot water and the cashews was just a cruel ploy you realize, as you stare at the three huge ridges separating you and the summit. Damn you evil porter with your hot water and your cashews.

You’re in a dark place. It’s almost 6:00 in the morning now and the slow moving train of zombies with headlamps keeps climbing. And then it happens. The epiphany. The moment of truth. That short moment of clarity when the voice in your head screams in silence: WHAT THE HELL? I ACTUALLY PAID TO GO THROUGH THIS?!



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