P/ We need to keep out of the way for a while Wic.
W/ Why is that Polie ?
P/ The porters woke Chris at 6 AM and that’s after the monkeys kept him awake duwing the night.
W/ And when Chris isn’t happy we all know about it!
W/ We start walking in a minute and it’s a lovely day.
P/ Yes, I looked at the map. We will climb out of the fowest and continue up thwough the gwhasslands. Just before lunch we will dwop slightly and the land will become less vegetation and more wocks.
W/ Here he comes. Morning Chris.
P/ It looks like being a lovely day.
C/ Does it!
W/ I don’t suppose you often see the sunwise.
C/ No, and once in a lifetime is sufficient!
P/ Look we are beginning to walk. Packs on boys and hiking poles out.
So we walked, single file, up a well worn track. As Polie had said the vegetation changed from jungle to grassland over a period of 2 to 3 hours. We would stop for drinks and a snack after a couple of hours. Keeping hydrated was to prove very important. Another disappointment to Chris, as hydration was mainly water with an occasional cup of tea. Additionally, for those amongst us not used to carrying a rucksack, it proved to be uncomfortable after a couple of hours walking uphill. There is an art to carrying a rucksack comfortably and this needed to be learnt over the days ahead.
P/ Having climbed all morning, just before lunch, we descended and left the grasslands. The terrain was now scrub and small boulders which were littered over the ground.
W/ It was whilst crossing this that the wind picked up and we experienced something of a dust storm. The dust was whipped up and struck the skin and got in the nose and the mouth.
P/ And if you have a snout the size of Chwis’s that’s a lot of dust.
W/ Polie! By now Chris was talking and looking forward to a meal. Needing to tie a large cloth around his face did little for his spirits. Needless to say we were all made aware of this.
So we ate sheltered in a tent and then set out for our next night camp, Shira Two, some five hours walking. It was in the middle of the afternoon that I began to realise boredom was going to be a challenge. There’s only so much you can think about. The days trek ended after nearly 11 hours and we had finally ascended 797 m with some ups and downs on the way.
P/ We were at 3850 metres, 12651 feet, which was higher than we had ever been on foot. Even snowboarding we had not gone this high.
C/ At last I can rest.
W/ And from here on in altitude can be an issue. Yes, you did well Chris.
C/ I should say. I need a beer now.
C/ Guys, a beer?
P/ There is no beer Chris.
W/ No beer until we get down.
C/ No beer. You never said.
W/ I think we did but your enthusiasm to stick a flag in the top was all we heard about.
P/ Remember Chwis the great adventurer?
P/ Let’s go and have some food and enjoy a cup of tea.
P/ Chris just think what you are going to achieve and how good the beer will be when you get down.
So we went for food and tea. In fact 2 or 3 cups of tea which was to come back to bite to us.
We slept in small two-man tents with our kit in as well. Shall we say it was snug. Our sleeping bags were designed for the mountain and could sustain sub-zero temperatures. We undressed in the space available, pulled our bags up to our necks and, with the days trekking behind us, soon fell fast asleep.
It was at about 1AM that two of us began to realise several cups of teas may not have been the wisest move. Needing to relieve ourselves we had to dress, put on our walking boots, crawl around our tents, and make our way to the toilet tent.
It was freezing!
Ice lay everywhere. The tents were white. It was slippery and very dark. We struggled to and from the toilets, returning to undress, and crawl around our tents again in order that we could get back into warm sleeping bags. We began to think how much we would be drinking on future evenings.