Day 215: Home Again, Home Again

This is Kelly. Kelly is trying hard to look smiley but it is 5 AM, it is well below freezing, and it is snowing on her. She has been walking for three hours already, and she is tired and the altitude of nearly 16,000 feet is starting to make itself known.

In true Claire and Lara style, we had been planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro since the beginning of the trip. It was, in fact, a highlight we both were eagerly anticipating. Then we got to Kenya, and decided to find out if this was actually a Good Plan or even Possible. Given constraints of time, money, and patience for long car rides, we settled on Mt. Kenya. Continuing our trend of thorough planning and well-laid plans, Claire then ended up staying behind for reasons she has previously outlined and Kelly and Lara ended up scheduling their trek for entirely the wrong day.

Well, we knew that altitude makes things colder and we knew that Mt. Kenya was supposed to be challenging. But Kelly and I knew we were tough, even though it was Kelly’s first hike, and I may not have had any fancy gear like a “hat” or “warm socks” with me. Everyone Kenyan we told about the hike looked shocked and appalled at us; they exclaimed we were “strong American girls!” and then explained that even though they lived within spitting distance of the mountain, they would never climb such a “hard cold” thing. Kelly and I nodded understandingly, and felt sure that Boston winters and movies like Vertical Limit had prepared us well.

So we walked. We met our guide Dennis, our porters Tosh and Steven, and we walked. A lot. Unlike Everest, the paths were not particularly well marked, the huts did not come with any kind of stove or heating device, and the paths, while less steep, were a hell of a lot longer (read: about 14 miles a day). Also unlike Everest, we had to summit from 2-6 AM one morning in the snow, with an ice pick as the only way we were able to establish footholds up the sheer, icy slope up the mountain. We felt rugged. Please see picture so you can agree with this sentiment.

Our ruggedness was seriously undermined, however, when our guide received a booty call at 4 AM as we summitted the mountain (he denied it, but who gets phone calls at 4 AM? Kelly explained the term to the poor confused Dennis, and he got very verbose in his denial. Lies all around.) Also lessening our claims to expertise and general outdoorsy fabulousness was the complaining we did all the way down the mountain. It wasn’t complaining, so much, as constant strings of questions to the maligned Dennis: do you get sore, Dennis? Because I’m sore. Aren’t you freezing Dennis? Wasn’t the hike hard this morning, Dennis? Why are you wearing all yellow? Do you mind if we call you Ducky? Why don’t you get your ears pierced?

Finally, after hours of this, Dennis crossed his arms and walked ahead. Kelly and I giggled, lapsed into girlspeak, and finally made it to base camp.

“Seriously, Dennis: how can you not be sore? How many times a week do you do this? Are you sure this is your favorite place? How much longer? How much rain? Etc etc etc.

We knew it was annoying, and we tried to be nice. But clearly not nice enough, since karma made us spend our entire last night listening to similar drivel from a much less charming couple. The Evil Canadians in the room next to ours spent literally FIVE HOURS of their night discussing the color of their pee, their neck warmers, their digestive issues, and whether or not we had flashlights on in the next room. Though we woke up warm for the first time in days, we also woke up with the rage. But nothing a little jaunt down the mountain, a reunion with Claire, and a shower couldn’t cure.

Our advice for all fellow trekkers? Go to Mt. Kenya. It is unbelievably beautiful, and well worth any amount of cold or discomfort the mountain can dish out. Take lots of extra clothes, take an extra day as the schedule you keep is hectic to say the least, trek around the summit, and watch out for the evil Hyraxes, the huge gerbil-type animals that have no fear of humans and like to make hissing sounds and bare their teeth at rugged American girls who shriek like little children and call for Dennis to come defend them.

But this is all in the past. I am currently watching Laguna Beach reruns On Demand in a bathrobe from the comfort of my home. It was one of the worst plane flights of my life, but I am home, and I am warm, and I love love love home.

Claire? Where are you?


CLAIRE said...

im in zurich airport...i love zou and miss zou like hell. read mz email...++kisses

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious - even funnier than the Mt. Everest trek.

At least y'all didn't get sick!

"little friend" said...

1. I am glad you are watching laguna beach
2. I'll be seeing you very soon...
4. do you know who this is?

Claire and Lara said...

I have no clue who this is, which just makes the title "little friend," which I admittedly use too often, kind of creepy

"little friend" said...

Lara: You know what makes it really, really seem that we have been travelling for 112 days?

Claire: What?

Lara: The fact that at the beginning of this trip my little friend figured out where she was going to college, and now she's actually going to college!

- Day 112

that little friend!

Lara said...

Hi Randy!!!! See you at Thanksgiving!

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