(Nandana) #1


december 2018 / january 2019



few slices of pineapple, in fact, made me feel
better immediately. Night came early and
we woke up to high energy levels, ready to
climb 4,600m to Lava rock. The plan was to
then walk down to 3,900 and sleep at Camp
Every step of the way that morning, we
could feel a difference in temperature. The
Mooreland region was dry, rocky and dusty,
and there was a chill in the air. Unfortunately,
my daughter Saanya started complaining of
heaviness and constant pounding in the head.
The guides kept saying “pole, pole”, and we
slowly reached Lava Camp in time for lunch
and afternoon rest. By this time, Saanya’s
headache had worsened. It was important
to get to a lower altitude soon to ease the
headaches and altitude sickness that many
had started to complain about. The day was

brightly, watching over all of us.
We all woke up rested to a fresh new morning,
and climbed yet again the entire day, the
summit of Kilimanjaro at the far distant urging
us to move on steadily to her embrace. We
climbed holding rocks and crevices, diligently
paying attention to instructions by our guides,
and we slipped on sand, rocks, mud and sleet
as we went downhill towards Camp Karanga,
our final stop before the summit.

The Final Journey
This was our important day—we were to climb
4800m to the base camp, and then at midnight
we would head for the summit. We were
bound by the weather condition including
wind speed and the sun’s direction, and would
get only 30-45 minutes on the summit before
the scorches touched the peak.
We started the day “pole pole”, up and down
through hills and flat terrains in cold and foggy

necessary for us to acclimatize and get used
to the thin air— drinking lots of water and
a rhythmic breathing alleviated some of the
Saanya’s condition was deteriorating and
her oxygen levels were found to be low, so
the guide maneuvered his way down slowly
with her as we descended down a series of
rocky hills. I was worried for my girl, feeling
guilty and responsible for having brought her
with me. But the spirit of fellow mates who
encouraged my “Baby Simba” to be a trooper
filled me with gratitude. It is no wonder that
trekkers stick together during a climb. By the
time we reached the camp, the vegetation
had changed and Saanya was looking better
too. After dinner, I gazed again at the moonlit
sky while she slept soundly, connecting and
thanking Venus which continued to twinkle

Highs and Lows – Traversing the terrain and climbing up walls

“Pole Pole” – Preparing for
the big climb, slowly slowly.