This doesn’t come close to the beauty of a rainforest.. particularly, the deep green rainforest of Mt. Kilimanjaro however, it was good enough to remind me. Before I expose the true beauty that is the mountain, I’d like to talk a little about it. I have only ever seen such beauty in very few places. The natural environment of the rainforest is like a paradise of it’s own. Have you ever gotten overwhelmed by (and emotional) over the scenery before you? Have you ever drunk in your landscape whose magnificence was beyond your comprehension? Let’s assume suddenly you close your eyes and conjure up the rainforest. You’re fully dressed in hiking gear and outstretched before you are an insurmountable number of trees; lush in their rich green, dressed over trunks a range of sizes, swirling around and over each other. Let’s not forget the dew on the leaves and dear Lord when you breath in, your senses are tickled by a fresh supply of air that you will probably never get to inhale again… it’s breathtaking, it’s amazing! Open your eyes and look…
I am a lover of nature, sometimes I cross the threshold of sanity in the way I behave when I am faced with such a view. However dear readers I hope you can find it in your hearts to be a little empathetic when it comes to this God made symbol of everything that is right with the world. I have been lucky in my life and one of the few times was when I hiked on Mt Kilimajaro- five days, five whole days and I’m happy to say that I made it to the very peak of the highest mountain in Africa. I’m a survivor!
I say this not to humour you dear reader but to inform you of the test that this mountain can place upon a person. The first three days of hiking were pleasant- it’s unbelievable the kind of bonding that happens when people are brought together by a common cause. Also, company tends to make people forget about the task ahead. I would like to say that was how I managed the 5-7 hours straight walking from hut to hut. However, the higher we went, the harder it became. It is therefore safe to say that the morning I left Kibo, I did not anticipate the trial before me.
The path was steep and for a long time I had managed to keep up with the group. I got to a point though where I was so tired that I took a longer break than necessary. The instructor had warned us about breaks. The longer the break, the harder it would be to get up. Unfortunately for me, he was right. The minute I got up and got deserted by the group (except for a guide who walked with me), my morale and motivation levels had gone down- let’s not forget I was tired. In any other case, maybe I could’ve afforded to cheat myself that I wasn’t that far off except that I could see the path before me. The path was in form of a zigzag, to keep people from falling. For me, it seemed like a torturous thing to do. I could see the rocks at the station that is Gilman’s, but I didn’t seem to be getting there fast enough!
Eventually, I did through much persuasion from my guide. He convinced me that we were almost there. God bless him for he made me believe that I really was almost close to the peak until half an hour later we were not. Imagine how crushed my heart was- not to mention my sore legs. It got to the point that the guide was pulling me from behind using my hiking sticks. I got so fatigued that I didn’t think I could move any longer. My body had given up the fight quite far back and as soon as my mind did too, I sat down and I refused to listen to my guide’s words of encouragement any longer. This was truly a test to my strength and determination and I had given up before conquering. At that moment,I hadn’t cared. All that was on my mind was rest, rest, and more rest. So I got it. The guide left me right there and I closed my eyes and took a nap. Those that had gone ahead found me right in that spot and I had just about regained enough energy to make it back down. One of my teachers however told me something that was life changing. She said to me that I had already gone too far to give up and I was just sooo close. I felt strong enough to I said bye and I kept going back up. I met another colleague with her guide and we made it up there together. We were the last two of my whole group to make it to the peak and to this day I will be forever grateful that I had gone up and finished what I started because the view up there was divine; the snow a vast difference from the rainforest but beautiful all the same.