My Blog

Aug 29, 2010 – Day Seven

9.21.2010 | My Blog

Barafu to Summit – Part Two…

…Suddenly, when I turn back to say something to Ali (perhaps something like, “whose f*cking idea was this?!“), I see the thinnest, faintest shadow of pink along the black horizon. A shift in gray, as the sun finally begins to rise. Stunned, all I can do is point toward it, as though I am seeing an oncoming tidal wave. Ali turns and sees the slowly brightening sky – we’re almost there! We must be! I smile and say to Ali, “we’re going to summit!”, and she says, “I know!”  It was the best I had felt in days.

Renewed, I move on. Up still, toward the summit, I know with hours yet to go. But I can make it. I can do this!

Five steps later, I stop. I can’t do this.

But I have to. I absolutely have to. I can’t go back now! I can’t stop, I can’t quit! By my god, it’s still so far away…

The higher we go, the harder it gets yes, but something isn’t right. It shouldn’t be this difficult. I’m in good shape! I have decent cardio – what the hell is going on?! I’m totally exhausted, and I can’t take another step. Not one more. I can’t do it. I cannot do it. I’m finished. I look up and see Stella Point about 120 feet ahead, but I can’t make it. I can’t! It’s too far. I make a decision. Turning to Ali I say, “I’m done, Ali. I can’t finish this climb. I’m just so tired! You go – summit! I’ll see you back at camp…”

Ali simply says, “no.”

Nearly in tears I explain to her that I’m too tired, that my body is screaming for me to stop. My guide tells me to “have courage”, Ali and Christopher tell me that I can do this. I feel them surround me… I get scared. Something has shifted in my head, and I know that I’m in trouble. Something isn’t right at all…

I have become an 85 year old woman. It’s not my body that makes me feel this, it’s my brain. I’m starting to hallucinate (although I don’t it, of course), and I’m scared. I see myself hunched over, holding myself up on a bright, shining red walker. Ali and Christopher are trying to steal my walker! Then, there are policemen there, trying to get me to give a statement – I’m so scared! Am I going to be arrested?! I haven’t done anything wrong! I was just trying to get to the grocery store, and these two people have accosted me! I turn to Ali, “who are all these people?!” I ask in a panic. I just want them to leave me alone! I keep telling them to go to the summit. I know they want to, so maybe I can convince them to go, so that I can make my getaway as soon as their backs are turned. “Go to the summit! I’ll see you later!”

My guide, Reggie, grabs my left arm, and begins to take my weight on him. I have this flash of memory – before I left I had received emails and messages from people telling me that they had set their alarms to go off at the approximate time that I summit a mountain half a world away. I know I need to do this now, I know I can do this. I’m not alone at all. I shake loose from Reggie, turn to Ali at my right side and say, “please don’t let him drag me up this mountain. I’d never forgive myself”

Ali turns to Reggie and firmly says, “I’ll take her”. She grabs my right arm in hers and says, “we can do this. This mountain can be climbed three steps at a  time. I’ll count our steps, ok? One… two.. three…

One… two… three…

Stella Point gets closer.

One… two… three…

one… two… three…

And then, suddenly, there’s only one more step to make – the step where we crest the crater wall and summit the mountain. And, without conscious thought, Ali and I step up on Stella Point with the same foot, summiting at the exact same time.

We’re so tired.

More exhausted than we’ve ever been in our entire lives.

But we’re here… and it’s incredible!

I’ve made it!

However, Ali isn’t done yet!   YOU GO, GIRL!!!

I wasn’t permitted to continue, and was sent back down to Barafu with one of the assistant guides, but Ali and Christopher went on, and well… here’s the best thousand words I’ve never spoken:

Next Time: Part Three – Downdowndowndowndowndown…




So you reached the roof of Africa – what I wanna know, is did you totally cry? 🙂

So proud of you babe!


Awww, thanks E. xo

Actually, I did NOT cry. Not then, anyway. Too tired! I cried later when it all actually hit me. 🙂