Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Acclimatisation Trek Day One

1st July 2017

We had an eventful night! At 11.53 my tent nearly collapsed as a boy collided with my guy lines.  There wet cries of 'there are ants in my tent!' This woke up the teacher in our group, but not our expedition leader, whose super power is sleeping.  I'm not joking! He can (and does) sleep anywhere - in the back of a Land Cruiser bouncing across Tanzanian roads, anywhere he can safely shut his eyes it would seem.

Without leaving out tent we tried to assess the situation:
'What's going on?' 
'There are ants in the tent!'
'Can you just kill them and throw them out?'
'No there are too many!'

We struck a deal that I could  stay in my tent on the proviso that I'd be the one to deal with the next night time crisis.  I snuggled deeper into my sleeping bag (it is chilly here at night) and tried to ignore the commotion. Before much longer (probably as much time as it takes one person to get dressed and out of a tent) I heard 'Err, Miss, I think you need to get out here too...'

I stumbled into my clothes and out of my tent and was directed to look into one of the tents.  I couldn't see anything untoward - but then realised I didn't have my glasses on and couldn't see anything much at all!  Back again with my specs on and oh my God!  Ants everywhere!  Nasty big biting black ants! We got the boys out of their tents, with their kit, and put one in each of the other three tents.  This would make for a cosy night for all, but the idea of trying to clean, repair and move a tent in the middle of the night (while it wearing underwater!) didn't appeal.  

The boy who had discovered the ants, because they bit him, was ejected from his new tent almost as soon as he entered it, the ants were in his clothing and his sleeping bag!  We brushed him down and set to removing the ants, one by one as they grip the fabric, by the light of the dying campfire! Amazingly we were all back in our tents by 12.15am!  

A quick visit to our lovely long drop toilets resulted in me gagging and deciding to pee behind the loo block!  It seems that not only do at least two of our boys have Delhi belly they also need a lesson in aiming! (This is an ultra runner's blog - you knew there had to be a mention of poo at some point!)

This morning it was a relief not to have to pack our tents away, and after breakfast we set off for our first acclimatisation trek.  We ascended nearly 1500ft in less than 3 miles (there's a challenge for the guys at White Star Running!) over some of the trickiest terrain I have ever encountered.  The soil is wonderful and the vegetation lush and varied.  It is also like walking on sand when it is dry and slippery as anything when wet! 

I'm not ashamed to admit that I found parts of it really tough going! I was shocked at just how much impact being at this altitude had. We weren't walking fast at all, but I was always beyond relieved to get to a flat section.  The down hill sections were not always a respite as they were precipitous in the extreme. 

The views were amazing, our local guides were knowledgeable and happy to answer questions.  What the photos don't convey is the freshness of the air and the wonderful aromas of the herbs that were growing wild. 

After lunch we gave the boys a bit of free time and then most of them walked into the village.  I stayed at the campsite, with one of the boys who was feeling under the weather, reading my book, drinking coke and enjoying the view from under the tree in the last photo on this blog.  It is a hard life!   

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