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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Just Days From Kilimanjaro.

I set an event countdown on my phone weeks and weeks ago. A check on it now, informs me that my flight to Nairobi takes off in 2 Days 23 hours 9 minutes! I can be honest and say that I do feel ready for it. I am very excited and very nervous but I am looking forward to it.
I finished my training last Friday. I went for a short run. I felt like I had come full circle. I can clearly remember starting my training last December with a walk in the pouring rain, and there I was, one day in August out in the pouring rain.
That short run brought the curtain down on eight months of hard work. I feel very proud looking back on it all, seeing for myself just how far I have come. I also take confidence and pride from the fact that in my heart I know I have given it everything I have got to be ready, and I can go to Africa knowing that I could not have done anything more or tried any harder. I feel fit, I feel healthy and I feel as ready as I will ever be.
After concluding my training I have tried to take it easy over my final week, and save my energy. It's hard to ignore the feeling inside that I should be doing something. Running, walking, going to the Gym. But I have resisted the urge and not felt too guilty,
Yesterday I trialled Diamox tabletS, or to give them their official name,Acetazolomide. I have done my research on these and spent months trying to decide if I would use them or not. Basically they help someone to acclimatise to altitude. I got them on a prescription from my Doctor, They can cause a few side effects but on balance once I sat down and thought about it, the idea of not reaching the summit because I got accute Mountain sickness and didn't take these tablets, well, I think I would be heartbroken and would kick myself forever and a day. I will start taking them the day before I begin the climb, but I took a dose yesterday to make sure I was not allergic to it.
Apart from a bit of a thick head I did not really have any problems, so I hope that is the case when I have to take them for a week.
I have to start taking my anti-malaria tablets on Thursday, with paracetamol and Ibuprofen in my kit bag I could well rattle all the way to Uhuru Peak.
Today I packed my kit away into my kit bag. It took quite an effort and several attempts but I got there in the end. I can now forget about it until I get to Tanzania. My Kit bag weighs 18KG which is fine for the aeroplane, but I need to get the weight down to 15KG for the mountain. I'm optimistic I can do that, as there are few items I will be leaving at the hotel.
Ever wonder what you need to take on a 10 day trip to the highest freestanding mountain in the world? Here goes:-
A pair of boots,
A pair of trainers
Trekking Gaiters-These wrap around your lower leg/ankles to stop scree getting in your boots
3 pairs of walking socks,3 pairs of liner socks to avoid blisters
1 pair of extra thick walking socks
A waterproof jacket
Waterproof trousers
Heavyweight trekking trousers (for the last push to the top in cold temperatures)
Lightweight trekking trousers
A Down Jacket
2 Micro Fleece tops
3 Trekking T-Shirts
Thermal underwear and base layer tops
A pair of windstopper gloves
Thick pair of waterproof gloves
Pair of fleecy Mitts
Fleece Hat
Bandana or Buff
Wide Brimmed hat
Casual clothes (for the hotel)
Tracksuit bottoms for the campsites
Swimming trunks (for the inevitable morning by/in the pool when we get off the mountain)
100 litre duffel bag
35 litre rucksack
Sleeping Bag
3 Litre hydration pack/camelback and 2x1 litre bottles
Head Torch with spare batteries
Sun Glasses
Sleeping Bag Liner
Sleeping mat
Camera/Video camera with spare batteries/memory cards
Snacks for 6/7 days (I have used trail mix bars whilst training so taking them and jelly babies)
Travel Pillow
Travel Towel
Trekking Poles
Ear Plugs
2 sets of chemical handwarmers for summit day
Anti bacterial hand gel
Toilet roll
Sun Screen,After Sun and lip balm
Wet wipes
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Insect repellent
Soap
Pain relief
Malaria tablets
Antihistamines
Zinc tape or blister plasters ( I prefer tape..get me sounding like a pro)
Rehydration Powder (you put this in your drink if you are starting to struggle)
Imodium (Hopefully wont need this)
Antiseptic wipes
Throat Lozenges
Deep Heat
Knee supports (I wear them to protect my knees a little)
Vaseline (Again blister prevention)
Talcum Powder
Diamox
Pee bottle (Not sure on if I will use this yet, I shall see how I go There will be a toilet at each camp, but it is an option for use in the middle of the night to save leaving the tent.)
As you can see its quite a list, and I have worked my way through getting it all, over the months.
Now that I am all packed, all I have to do is wait for the adventure to begin on Friday.
The photo shows my red holdall full with the above list, my rucksack on the left, my hat,coat and trusty boots