This is the Story of How I Died

A quick Breakdown of Mt. Longonot:
3.1k climb to the rim through dust
7.2k climb and descent around the rim
3.1k back down through a dust storm of your own making

Honestly I loved the hike… once I was on the descent. The ascent to the rim of the crater was definitely a time when I questioned my existence on the planet Earth.  I have a problem with starting way too fast, so by the time I got to the first gazebo (end of the first ascent) I was not ready to continue going up… I honestly considered going back, just because I knew it was going to take determination to get up the next ascent.  Thankfully, about this time, I stumble across Keith who, like me, started off too fast.  We were possibly a very pathetic sight.  so for the rest of those 3k Keith and I pushed ourselves up to the rim, stopping probably ever 4 meters.  During this whole time I thought I was going to end up puking… but I didn’t

The rim was victory number one.  Which we celebrated by sitting in the gazebo, catching our breath, and drinking some more water.  Then came the next part of our journey… the rim.  Comparatively, the rim was not nearly as bad as the first ascent, even though it was a further walk.  The worst part of the rim was the climb to the summit… from there, I declared it was “all downhill” which was a lie. There were more ups and downs, each one bringing us a little closer to the final descent.

The second arrival at the gazebo was greeted with jubilation, and lunch! after a quick apple and water we headed down for the last 3.1k stretch with the students who were in front of us.  The descent was my favorite part. Granted my toes started hurting and I was basically taking a dust bath like a chinchilla, but a bit of running and jumping and not having to drag myself up another hill made it my favorite.

So the moral of the story is, GO! Go find an adventure and finish it, because once the end is in sight, you can forget most of the horrible stuff that happened on the way.

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Ash, Soot, and the Fires of Mordor

The first long weekend of the school year, a time longed for and cherished by all.  AND I SPENT IT CAMPING!!! Needless to say it was epic amounts of fun.

Our weekend off group that went adventuring in the Chyulu Hills included the Doss family (Richard, Hadassah, Zivah, and Zhara), The R’s (Lari, Robyn, Larissa, and Zander) and four SMs (Me, Jacqui, Katie, and Macy).  So despite the long and grueling car ride, where Larissa and Zander found it most enjoyable to bicker and whine (mainly Larissa) we made it no worse for wear.  Haystacks and setting up camp as well as discovering the “toilet” completed most of the night’s activities… MOST. By some twisted turn of fate, Macy and Katie ended up next to each other in our tent… basically Katie stole Jacqui’s spot.  And there was a battle. (aka we were up a while longer and Katie hit people)

Once the next day came, we were all quite sad about our campsite… it was very… lame. So after adventuring in lava tube caves (Jacqui tried to die about 3 times in the last one) we all emerged from the darkness into the very bright world.  Upon concurrence that we would stay both Friday and Saturday nights we set off to pack up and move.

Now for the fun… Riding on top of the R’s car… GLORIOUS! Wind in my face, sun on my skin, and off roading to boot.  We traveled

I personally love this picture

over hill and dale, fearless explorers, going where no one had ever gone before… ok that last part was a lie.  However I still felt epic sitting on the top of the car.  Next in our epic journey were the fires of Mordor… An exaggeration of course, but as it was Lord of the Rings weekend and the hills were on fire (spontaneous or intentional I don’t know but there was a lot of fire!) I decided that the Fires of Mordor was an apt description.  We could hear the crackling and see flames, there was so much smoke that it turned the sun orange.

After much toil, travel, and ducking to avoid tree branches, we arrived at what would become our new campsite.  What drew us was the amazing view of Mt. Kilimanjaro… if it weren’t for that I don’t know that we’d have stayed there.

Why you may ask? Soot, ash, EVERYWHERE! Our feet and hands were covered in black charcoal.  The land there was recovering from a fire similar to those on the hills, set to get rid of the old grass so fresh nutritious grass can grow.  We were a sight to be seen when we left.

Definitely the best camping trip thus far and to quote Katie it was a “Buttload of fun. I’m going to bring some White Bread next time. Maybe Iced Tea too! Can we go see the Flamingos?” Hahaha oh if only life was always so carefree and fun!

So after many pictures of Kilimanjaro, lazy chats around the lantern, songs about the bathroom, and meeting some Masai guys, we left our temporary haven for work and showers.

After less than two months I feel like I have lived more than a year at home. Truthfully, I don’t know how I’m going to leave, Africa is becoming more and more a part of me… but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Fare Thee Well

Our First Campsite

Our Second Campsite