Ai ai ai! After dinner yesterday we fell asleep around 19:00. We were dead tired from the days climb and went out like babies.
The sleep was so and so all the time people were passing 20 cm from our head and talking in all sorts of languages. But there is no rest for the wicked and 01:58 the alarm went off. We got tea and crackers for a light breakfast. What we achieved on that fuel is beyond our comprehension.
The trek up to the summit on 3726 meters starts easy enough. With a trek through the camp that was much bigger than we knew. But the steep climb came soon enough. With basically just gravel under foot, you take two steps forward and one step back (who remember Paula Abdul?). It is extremely tiresome! We are both pretty fit but this trek took all we got. We walked with head torches and all we saw was the meter and a half ahead of us. Aman had put a blinking light on his backpack and it guides us along. He was clear that we needed to pass some of the slower people as they would hold us back when the track narrowed further up.
We just looked down, took one step – collected one win. Another step, another win. Man, this was hard. I’m sort of out of words to describe it, and that is something that rarely happens.
On top of the hardship of the trek came the cold. We were dressed in windbreakers, long sleeved technical underwear, wool sweatshirt, hats and gloves. We were freezing cold! When we finally arrived at the summit we were shaking. We took out all other clothes from the backpack and put them on. Still we were not getting warm. We managed to get the mandatory picture with the sign, though. Done by pure willpower and a guide who took his gloves of long enough to take the picture.
We moved down 50-60 meters to find shelter for the howling wind together with a lot of others. We had done good and was 45 minutes early for the sunset. So we had some time to kill in the cold dark night. Aman, our magical guide had brought hot tea, a sleeping bag and crackers. We all huddled together under the bag, rubbing each other for warmth and focusing on all the lights coming up the hill. All the people we knew would not make it to sunrise… When we saw how far they still had to go.
Finally! 6:15 the sun came up. There were cheers on the mountain top from people who had conquered both themselves and the mountain. Personally I had tears in my eyes and can straight up say I have never worked so hard for seeing the sun rise. It was beautiful!
And immediately we started on the decent. In the same gravel as we struggled up we slipped and slided back down. This is dry season and the dust was just unbearable. So many people, so much dust! And for the people still on their way up we must have made their day much harder. We got down, got a big breakfast, slept for 30 min- got back up, packed the bags and started the days second trek.
Straight down into the crater down to the lake. Almost uneventful, but three more hours downhill took its toll. We saw grey monkeys.
But behold! In the crater there are hot springs that hold about 40 degrees. We got in, stayed awhile and got out fresher than before. It was heavenly.
The difference on our 4 day/3 nights and the one shorter is they do the climb this afternoon that we do tomorrow. We are presently chilling by the lake in the crater. Have had a nice nap, and are now sipping tea with a great view. But Katja has gotten blister on both heals today and have pain in some toes also. Right now she is uncertain if she will live to tell this story.
Worth mentioning are our porters as well. They started out with 40 kg packs and move faster in flip-flops than we do in trekking boots. Today they went past us twice. And when we came to the break in the trek they already had the lunch ready. And now they are preparing dinner. Aleks and Dama (formerly known as “the other guy”) are great chefs, puts the clients first and are all smile and good spirit. We have been served banana pancakes, vegetable soup, fried chicken, rice and freshly cut fruit. All good, all delicate and fresh.
I will do a review of Johns Adventure on tripadvisor and publish the link here for all good things to say about the crew.
Now it is evening and time to relax. Tomorrow we will start trekking at 9, hopefully well rested.