Caren Ware's Blog

April 10, 2014

What goes up…must come down.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:44 am

The ‘trek’ off the mountain would prove to be as character requiring as the determination up it. Down. Down through the snow and by the glaciers. Down to where the sun rose and its hues are now bold. Years prior, a man had fallen at 17,000 and broke his femur. The group retold his story, and how the heroic porters had carried him to a point of airlift, over 6,000 feet below. In this same area they had heavy frames with wheels that were used to gurney a failing climber down. We would hike by porters paid to return the gurney to 12,000 feet. They weighed near one hundred pounds. The porter was paid $5 to return it. IMG_5058

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So it was unnerving when one in our group took a slide down a couloir. Luckily, though not getting up for far too long, he only acquired a few bumps and bruises. It was steep stepping up Kilimanjaro. Now it was treacherous maneuvering down. Everyone was tired by the night, the climb, the lack of oxygen, the emotion. I could put to use why I went to Jackson, Wyoming. I wanted my ability and agility back. I wanted to be able to bound over rocks and surefootedly hop from them. And that is what I had spent the past year doing. Bouncing over rocks, streams, up mountains, down canyons, over prairies, through forest, into an unexpected and treasured relationship I hoped would go somewhere to… well… all of which was to make me solid, capable, healthy again. Well, at least the outdoor activity had.
I liked the rocks, the uneven, moving earth. I liked that I liked it. One of the guides nodded me forward. “I can keep an eye on you from here”. That is all I needed. I loved being able to move fast and deftly. I knew descending would be the devil to knees and joints, but I also knew, I had trained for this. Bound. Step. Solid. Move. Step. Bound. It took half the morning to get to even a view of the tops of tents at base camp. I was hurting from the mishap of allowing myself to get so severely dehydrated during the marathon. My joints and muscles still are mad at me even a month later. But I had descended well and quickly. It was good to be at 15,500…where, ironically, I could now breath easily. IMG_5054

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I was the first to arrive and here is where the second celebration party began. The porters. They sincerely were happy for the triumph. And they were really in wait to see what I had to tell about it. I had taken the time to get to know the porters. They were old, young, some smiled, other’s not ever. They now had names, and personalities, and I felt a family love for them. The same one that drew interest into making those Hispanic boys family back in Los Angeles. We jabbered. Kidded. Laughed. Shared. And I had no idea how hard the next half day would be as we would have to pack up Base Camp and descend to a safer altitude.
As we waited for the group, the porters and I took turns playing with the camera equipment. Smile. ‘Say heezzze,” they’d laugh. Some shyly hid their teeth with a smirk smile. A common condition was eroded front teeth. They said it had something to do with the volcanic conditions of this area and what was in the water. IMG_5047

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