Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 6: Another day, another stretcher ride

After falling asleep, I got about 6 hours rest. Then it was time to start packing our tent up, have lunch and begin a three hour journey down the mountain to our last camp. If there was any doubt in my mind about whether my decision to not summit was the right one, it was washed away today.

Once again, I needed help when it came to getting down the mountain. Climbing up? No problem. Climbing down on the other hand...
Another guide, Athumani, held my hand and walked me down the mountain. I learned a couple new Swahili words and phrases from him, like dada (sister) and kaka (brother). 

It took longer than normal with me slowly making my way downhill. Instead of 3 hours, it was probably closer to 4. When were were still about an hour away, I was overcome with exhaustion like I have never been before. I collapsed on the ground, to weak to lift my arms or legs, even hold my head up. I’m not sure who, but a couple people moved me to the side. Kaity tried to give me water from her camelback, but while I had strength to bite down on the tube, I did not have enough to suck on the tube to draw the water out. She wound up having to unscrew her water bottle and hold it to my lips. 

The best selfie in the world, in my humble opinion
I cannot adequately describe just how profoundly weak I was. 

The guys were trying to put together a stretcher to get me to the bottom. In the meantime I laid down on a rock to rest, and started to get hypothermia from the cold rock beneath me. Amy and Kaity piled on two emergency blankets, put my heat packs on my face and chest and Kaity even covered me with her coat. She and Amy also took turns laying on me to keep me warm. Eventually they got the stretcher together and strapped me in. I’m not sure, but I think like 6 or 7 guides and porters helped carry me down to the camp. 
Our Nurse Amy kept up with the stretcher behind me, even though her ankle is sprained. 

Originally they were going to take me to the gate, but it was getting dark and they decided to just go to the camp and let me rest.

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