KILIMANJARO DAY 4: I pause to soak in the grandeur of nature

Engulfed by clouds

The atmosphere felt heavy as the morning approached. Heavy cloud coverage surrounded the campsite as we emerged from the tent for the breakfast routine. A weary tiredness had become the normal, and the dense surroundings seemed to support the bodies desire to climb back into the tent for a few more hours of rest.

Not yet, no sleeping in, no extra rest, the summit push was just a few days away. It was critical for acclimatization that we continued to climb high throughout the day and descend in the evening for sleeping.

Leaving Moir camp

After finishing breakfast, bathroom, and personal load up procedures, the trekking ensued. We left the foggy campsite, while our crew once again stayed behind to pack up all the details. We would soon see them again on the trail ahead, as they passed us with remarkable speeds and skill on the uneven terrain.

A gradual climb to start, then steadily the grade increased. We were headed to Lava Tower which stood around 15,000 ft (4,500m). Another acclimatization trek to assimilate our bodies to the higher altitudes. Vegetation was rare amongst these parts as we hiked through the rock covered land. Through narrow passages of rock walls to wide open rock speckled expanses we slowly inched our way to higher elevations.

As early morning began to fade, the clouds lost their strength. Patches of blue sky began to appear sporadically, unveiling small portions of Kilimanjaro as we trekked below its glorious snow scattered peaks. Like a suspenseful movie, the mountain reviled small pockets of the plot at a time. Each day we had a different perspective as we climbed up and around the rocky terrain.

Lava tower

By the time we reached Lava Tower, the back side of Kilimanjaro was in full view. The clouds had fully retreated and we were able to view some of the older routes that were used to summit. Most were no longer accessible, due to high risks and a deadly accident that occurred years prior. The air was thin, and the chill was intense as the wind blew through constant through the area. A quick snack break (amazing mango juice box and biscuits/cookies) and a quick squat behind a rock, then back to the trail.

Senecio forest

Camp remained several hours away. A descent through the beautiful Senecio Forest. The barren rock covered regions shifted quickly, intriguing vegetation increased as we continued down the valley. Trees and shrubs spread more frequently, a waterfall and stream ran along side the trail. The clouds now settled below us, and Kilimanjaro beamed overhead. The beauty was remarkable.

The group moved quickly during times such as this, the downhill trek into basecamp. It was impossible for my being to not linger in the moment. An extra pee break to bask in the beauty. A quickshift movement under the awe provoking shadow of Kilimanjaro. Another photoshoot with the spectacular vegetation. It was a constant desire to stop, and soak it in. To breathe in the entirity of the trip and progress of the journey thus far. The energy pulsing throughout the body was vibrant, the heart so full of joy and wonder.

“I pause and soak in the grandeur of nature.” A way of giving permission to pause, even though the team eagerly progressed to the camp below. A reminder that life does not need to be so rushed. This moment is here, right now. To be enjoyed. Soon, excuses were not needed. We were able to stop when needed, just to enjoy. “Enjoy mama, enjoy.” A phrase of endearment by the lead guide, Good Luck. A phrase that remained in the mind long after the trek was complete.

Barranco camp

In the shadows of the great Barranco Wall, the camp was completely set up and ready for our arrival. We had a few hours of rest or exploration before meal time. This camp was larger than the previous nights, as the trails had merged and we were now trekking with many more climbers. A plethora of people were perched on rock ledges, resting and hoping for cell service. Porters gathered water and prepared meals, while climbers addressed thier aching bodies.

After a small nap and a loop around the bustling basecamp, the evening wrapped up with journaling, meal time, and my daily practice of yoga and meditation. Though my practice was not as long as my normal routine, and the environment was a shared small tent, I was able to adapt my practice and continue my daily commitment to connecting within. Often times, with oxygen decreasing, and a fully exhausted physical and mental body, connecting to the calm within came with great ease. The mind too tired to over-think, the body to tired to over-move, allowed the flow of oneness to naturally to embrace the entire body. Full enjoyment of the grandeur of life, nature and interconnectedness between all, flowed beauitiflly before drifting into deep slumber.

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