Nina Spencer

Relaxing in Zanzibar

Well it's hard to believe that it was a week ago that the 13 of us summitted Kili, for as hard as we worked at it for seven days of ascent, that's how lazy we're being now, lolling about at a lovely resort in Zanzibar (healing our wounds and minor injuries).

So surreal. Early morning here in Zanzibar and I'm now sitting on a rope swing above the shore rocks over looking the still, aqua, Indian Ocean, watching four men with cloth bags, wade through the low tide, picking up seaweed to sell to Japanese merchants to make Sushi rolls! Ah the bliss of the reward (for sore muscles) after "The Long Walk"!

Ha! Some long walk! Summit day was a 12 all up hill trek, with the almost unheard of 55 minutes on top, followed by a two hour "sand and boot skiing" descent! We stayed atop so long because the day was extraordinarily warm for the summit--only about minus 5 C. Heck, that day I think it was colder in Toronto than it was on top of Kili!!! So much for all that money I spent on minus 30 gear, eh?

The glory of summiting got momentarily doused, however, because we stayed on top a little too long and, therefore, on the descent, we ran out of daylight. Night really "falls" fast at the equator. 7 pm and thud! By the time of the "thud" we still had a whole hour left to gingerly climb down rocks in the dark (thank goodness for headlights but they weren't really good enough). Anyway looking back I see how treacherous it was but we made it to camp and when we did 15 straight hours on our feet, hiking, was under our weary belts. We flopped into chairs in the dining tent (Ruth and I), really took a moment to "get it" about the whole ordeal, and just put our arms around one another and had a little cry. But you know, this is a bad news/goods news story, for if nothing unusual happened, it would have been just your typical story of up and down the summit. This way I have great story fodder to share...and we made it unscathed, despite the real danger.

But speaking of "making it unscathed...I did end up injuring myself, you'll never guess when! On the very, very last 30 minutes of the whole experience...on the flattest, widest part of the route, right near the finish line and gate! Seemingly out of nowhere we heard and then saw the shock of a small truck on our road. Such an affront after 9 days of virtually no signs of the outside world! We all scampered quickly to the road's edge to let the "lorry" pass and when ascending the embankment--tired legs, I guess--I stumbled and fell hard on my right elbow and leg. Two nasty bruises on my leg and an elbow that took a blow so hard it took days for me to raise my arm (even to hold a glass of water) securely. All's well now, however. Nothing a few days of seawater and R and R couldn't fix, eh? And the moral of this little last day of climb story??? It ain't over 'till it's over!!! And, one must continue to hold conscious intention on important tasks and projects to the very end for, just like car crashes, most "accidents" happen within a mile of "home".

Hope you enjoy these pics of my cottage in Zanzibar, the lovely view from my porch, last night's sunset and the men picking seaweed at low tide. Going to go have breakfast now and then a swim in the Indian Ocean--strictly for medical reasons, to further heal my arm. Ha ha ha!

Wish you were here,

Nina