Back in March when I booked the trip of a lifetime to climb Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro it was on the basis that I couldn’t see the point of flying all the way to Tanzania and spending all that money, and only climbing one mountain. After all squillions of people have climbed Kilimanjaro (ok probably not that many but millions I bet), and its not hard to find lots of blog about people’s trips. So why not push myself a bit further and climb neighbouring Meru too?
Friends who had done the trip a decade ago said it was highly recommended and that Meru is even a nicer walk and a great way to acclimatize to the altitude. And after all a load of celebrities climbed Kilimanjaro in 2009, (and loads more since) so it can’t be that hard since they’re not exactly hikers.
And I might not be superfit but happily cover 20+miles for a walk and managed to get a few of those in this year. So I must be fit enough, right?
The difference in my friends and colleagues reaction to my trip is startling. A small bunch are excited for me, and find it amazing and think I’m nuts. My friends who’ve done it before offered loads of advice. But surprisingly most people are really indifferent.
As I sit here, in my pj’s watching tv, staring at the amount of kit I have packed and all the stuff I haven’t yet squished in (there’s not a great deal I’m leaving behind, just the kitchen sink) I’m questioning my decision making process.
I might have wanted to climb Kilimanjaro since I discovered it was the highest peak in Africa and I didn’t need to be a climber, but Meru? I think I booked the two peak version of the trip as I didn’t want to seem a wimp to my fellow mountain rescue colleagues who had no problem on their trip. Nevermind that they’ve climbed loads of peaks at altitude and this will be my first. But then I am a bit of a tick list person, so why climb just one mountain?
Things that makes me worried/ irrational:
1.- altitude – no base line from which to judge this. Walking the Tour de Mount Blanc last year and making it to 2500m does not qualify me to know how I will react. I am really bothered that this will floor me and I will not make it. Sleeping at that altitude did give me weird dreams so who knows what I’ll be like this time at more than twice that height.
2.- malaria – this bothers me in two respects. I am worried that I will have a reaction to the tablets, which i don’t start taking till two days before I travel (and so it’ll be too late to do anything about it). I’m also worried about giant mosquitoes that will eat me alive.
3.- not seeing anything from the summit (and on two summits!) – this happens to me everywhere I go, be it Scotland, Wales, the Lake District. The Alps last year was the first trip I had wall to wall sunshine. It might be hot but it is currently raining in Tanzania.
4.- Not having enough kit (that one can’t possibly happen)
5.- losing my kit via Heathrow to Nairobi – almost certain to happen. So I’ve packed one lot of everything in my carry on bag. *smug*
6.- a long list of other health complaints – massive first aid kit to solve this.
7.- massive first aid kit will make customs suspicious – see point 5
So, with my anxiety packed along with my entire kit store, I am still really looking forward to fulfilling a dream I’ve had for the last 15 years, I just hope I make it. I will have my fingers crossed all the way. I have determination by the bucket load, roughing it is second nature, and whatever happens I know I’ll have an amazing time.
Wish me luck! And if you’re from England, give a thought for the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue team who I’ve decided to raise money for. I had the trip booked anyway and thought it would make a good excuse to raise money for their Headquarters appeal. Check out my justgiving link – here.
Don’t worry I will kill you all with photos on my return!
….(Now for a week of anxiety and packing)….
- 82-Year-Old Reaches Kilimanjaro’s Peak (sykose.com)
- Ten Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro (adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com)