Mission Meru: Accomplished

This is our idea of fun? Up at 1:30 in the morning to scrape, claw and gasp our way up 3000 feet in the dark on less than 4 hours sleep? Honestly.

But it was fun under the high full moon. The silver lit forest, the silhouette of Kilimanjaro across the western horizon, the narrow rock bridge with steep drops on either side. Even the scrambling up and down rock faces was all high adventure good fun.

It’s a very good thing we sufferred the ascent in the dark because had we seen the terrain laid before us, each step would become that much heavier with discouragement. The not-fun part began once we hit the sandy slopes that marked the last 1000 feet. From here the trail got steeper and the rockier sections more frequent. Steps and breath got shorter and shorter and the urge to stop stronger and stronger. Pole, pole, as they say in Swahili. Slowly, slowly. This is the iron-man of walking meditation.

At 14,980 feet, Mt. Meru is 570 feet higher than Mt. Rainier but much more accessible since it is not a technical climb. Still, altitude does funny things to the mind and body (none of them fun). Ofer felt heavy nausea and in my speech the words came thick on the tongue. Others in our group got racing hearts and headaches. But our feet and hands were warm and the weather more than cooperative so we had only to stop for those extra breaths. Step by oxygen-deprived step we picked off the inches to the top.

Stay tuned for photos of the extra fun descent with phenomenal views. In the meantime, plenty of images of Mt. Meru and its ash cone on the web.

One thought on “Mission Meru: Accomplished

  1. Your descriptions always a pleasure to read and this particular exploit . . . gladly left to you. An amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing it with us — especially me, one of weak constitution and weaker will. Now “pole, pole,” as you strive for Kilimanjaro.

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