Saturday, January 31, 2009

I DID IT!!! & All The Way Down....

L-R Andrew, Lauri, Bryson, Kennedy, Uto

Descending off Kilimanjaro, I wasn't so sure it wasn't going to be "Kill-My-Aunt-Lauri." It was the longest walk ever. About half way down I started feeling the effects of the change in altitude, and major jet lag. I became so dizzy, light headed, nauseated and very shaky. Bryson keep telling me, he thought I should let him get me an emergency cart. Anyone who knows me, knows that was out of the question. My reply to him was, " I will go down off this mountain, the same way I went up, that is on my own two feet, and I don't care if it takes me another eight hours. He just grinned and we kept walking Pole-Pole. Andrew one of my porters, was so cute with me, he stayed with me the whole time and just kept telling me I was doing great. When we finally reached the gate at Marangu Route I was totally exhausted. I signed out as a climber off the mountain. YES, I did it!!! However, I don't want to do it again anytime soon. There have been a few times in my life that I have been exhausted, but never to the point of collapsing. Coming off of Kili, I truly was to the point of collapsing.
For the next three days my legs hurt so bad, I had a hard time walking. I suppose no success in life comes without pain.



It was off for a the second day of hiking. I had already been warned today would be a long hard hike, so I tried to give myself a pep talk as I left the Mandara Campsite. Today's, hike would encompass hiking out of the rain forest, through the Moorland and finally reaching the Alpine Desert, estimated hike time seven- hours. I really enjoyed the Rain Forest and the Moorland, but when we reached the Alpine Desert about six hours in to the hike I lost steam. Bryson took my day pack, of which he said was very heavy and it was no wonder I was getting tired. I was convinced had he of not taken my pack I would not of made it.

I was so extremely exhausted, when I looked back at how far I had come on the mountain. It was like the clouds were following me and pushing me from behind and at times it was a little eerie. There in the distance I could see the Horombo Huts elevation 13, 487.
Day four would be the longest and most difficlut and there really was a time when I thought of giving up, but I just keep putting on foot in front of the other. I laid my flag on a rock, read it and reread it. Trying to keep the messages and the meaning of the flag in my mind. Then as I was listening to my MP3 player, Jewel's, song "A Stronger Woman" came on. I knew I couldn't give up after hearing the lyrics of "I will be a stronger woman, a stronger woman--the kind I'd want my daughter to be!" With my flag in my hand and the song lyrics in my mind, I had a bit of renewed energy as I went the last hour of my twelve hour hike.

there it was the highest free standing peak in the world and I was seeing it first hand. Also coming into camp there were my Austrian friends, Nina and Martin running towards me cheering as loud as the could. Tears were rolling down my face, as I had reached my goal. I had so many thoughts swirling in my mind, one being Mt. Kilimanjaro is a long ways from Goshen, Utah.

I had DONE IT! As I watched the sun set from 15,463 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro it was a breath taking view as you could see the lights of Tanzania and Kenya as if they were a miniature villages at Disneyland. Sitting on the deck of the mess hall, I had the chance to visit with so many people from so many different walks of life. Funny not a sole from Utah, but several from the US.
I did sleep a little better, but jet lag was catching up with me. Bryson had explained to me I would need to be up and ready to descend the mountain at 6:00 am. As the sun came up over the "Roof of Africa" I was up and enjoyed my last view of the Uhuru Peak. Not only was the peak a beautiful site, but the sunrise was unbelievable. Standing in awe of the sunrise with the cloud cover below me was absolutely incredible. It was truly was a sight I'll never see again.
Before I started the descend I had one last request to fill, that was to bring back a pruddy rock for TJ. Though I had looked for one going up the trail I couldn't seem to find the perfect rock, as they all looked the same. Finally, I found a handful of rocks all a little different, all from 15, 463 feet on Kili. I hope they all make TJ smile. Now I have paid him back for all the rocks he brought me from every hunting trip for the last fifteen years.

Soon it was down the mountain with a new renewed energy in our steps. Well, so okay the porters had new found energy. They are amazing as they literally run up and down the mountain carry forty pounds on their heads, many wearing nothing more than flip-flops and shorts. Not only do they have to carry it all up the mountain, but what ever is taken up, must be carried back down. That includes all trash used in making the trip. There are even porters who's job it is to carry cases of beer and Coke to each campsite. Watching them I was thankful for my job at Mountain View Hospital and the wages I make. Porters make about $4000.00 per year and their job is anything, but easy. I remember watching them miles ahead of me on the trail. I thought how different my life would have been had I been born in Africa.

The porters, the cooks and the guides all have to go to school in order to work in their respective jobs. Bryson, told me school in not easy and it is very expensive. My thinking was what can someone teach you about carry forty pounds on your head, maybe find an easier job. Most clients tip them about twenty dollars for the three-four day hike. Call me a sucker again, I tipped them each fifty dollars. I thought about what I do for fifty dollars in comparison to what they do, it was money well spent.

Before leaving the Kibo Hut, Nina and Martin gave me one last hug and wished me well. I in returned told them to give the summit HELL! They laughed and said they had never heard that before... They waved and cheered as I began my descent off Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Going down I was over come with a sense of pride and accomplishment and so wished someone could have been there in person to see me reach my goal. I was grinning from ear to ear not only on the outside, but on the inside as well!

I DID IT!!!!
How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In one such place standing alone on Mt. Kilimanjaro, it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make - leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone - we all dwell in a house of one room - the world with the firmament for its roof - and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track. ~John Muir

She did it!!!! She got to 15,463 feet and said it was the hardest thing she's ever done. We were able to talk to her on the phone for just a few minutes and it was soooo good to hear her voice--even though she sounded absolutely exhausted. She told me shared a hut with a cute, younger couple from Austria. When she got to the hut on the fourth night (after she'd made it to her goal height on Kili), the couple CHEERED as loud as they could. As she told me about it, she started to cry--but, I know they were tears of pride and accomplishment. She also told me that on the way down, she got light-headed, dizzy, nauseated and very quivery. The porters and her guide, Bryson, asked her if she wanted them to call emergency personnel and get her a cart. She told them "There's no way in hell I'm going to let you call emergency people for me!" I can just hear her voice saying that! Anyway, she made it up in three days and down--35 miles-- in one day. Way to go Mom--we all knew you could do it; and, while we may not have been there by your side, we were all there in spirit!

From Kristina: I am so glad you made it there safe and sound!! Sounds like you are already having a blast! Stay away from the monkeys, they're mean! You are amazing!! And, no worries, this half-assed Mormon is back here praying for ya! Love Ya! Kristina.

From Karen Boothe: Leslie Dicou wants to know the names of the porters.

From Mom: Hey everyone! I DID IT!!! I am tired, but good. What an awesome experience, but I don't want to do it again anytime soon. Love to all

From Andi: You are so awesome. I'm so proud of you. What a cool bucket list.

From Sana: That tired gives more to your spirit. Go get every adventure.

From Mom: Well, I am back off the longest, most difficult walk I have every done. All I can say is be careful what you put on your "Bucket List!" Going up there was a time that I thought of giving up. Then the song "Stronger Woman" by Jewel played on my MP3 player. I had to finish. All I can say is it is a long way from an ICU bed at UVRMC and U of U! I hope I've made everyone proud and let everyone know you can go far beyond what you think you can!!! Love Lauri, Mom & Grandma XOXO

From Toni: Congrats Aunt Lar way to go we are proud as hell of you!

From Kristina: I knew you could do it! What an amazing woman you are! I am really proud of you and jealous cause its something I could probably never do! Way to go! Love Kris

From Sana: Proud you should be at what you set out to do and look what you have become. My heart is waving with thumbs up. WAY TO GO!

From Tiffany: Way to go! I knew you could do it! Please send any pictures when you can. Great job, Mom! Love you!

From Steve: Hey Lauri. I knew you would make it. I am proud of you. Be careful. See you soon. Luv, Steve

From Andi: I'm glad that part of your bucket list is done (climbing Kili). Now, onto better things. I think you could rope an elephant, especially for Brykn. Please take care of yourself, my friend. I am so proud of you and I miss you tons.

From Mom/Jacquie: We knew you could do it. You have the stubborn Hopes blood. Love you, Mom & Jacquie

From Karen Boothe: (via card sent with Leslie) I never doubted that you would reach your goal on Kili. I only wish I could have been there too! We'll get together soon for an adventure together. Thanks for letting me be part of your great experience! Love Karen