teen books
Kili Climb
by Hilary Williamson
(page 4)

That night I dreamt I was on Kilimanjaro. Mom's group was up ahead, and Amir and Lizzie were walking with me.  It was spooky.  No-one spoke.  We had an easy hike uphill for three hours through thick, warm rain forest.  The trees were all covered in moss, dripping down on us like melting candles. We waded through a sea of ferns, taller than we were.  That was fun.  Then we followed the porters on a trail across moorland, where old tree roots tried to trip us. Funny - the porters didn't seem to see us, just like we were ghosts, but when we got to the Mandara huts, the chief guide Siara nodded to us.

It was the next day in my dream. We walked uphill for six hours to Horombo. There were weird looking plants called lobelia, bigger than us, and groundsel that looked like giant cabbages. We hung around the huts for a whole day to get used to the altitude.

My friends and I explored together till Amir got a bad headache and lay down.  The others still didn't seem to see us - except for Siara, who grinned every once in a while. He sure bossed the other guides around and once he seemed to be talking to us 'The moon moves slowly, but it crosses the town.' We were getting tired anyway so we took the hint and rested.

The dream continued the next morning, cool and sunny. We kept on up the mountain, walking slower and slower all the time. It seemed like we couldn't get enough air in our lungs. The others walked at a steady pace so we tried to do the same - breathe in, step, step, breathe out. Siara passed by with more advice - 'When you follow in the path of your mother, you learn to walk like her.' I guess that's what we were doing.

Between Mawenzi and Kibo is a flat volcanic saddle, with rocks scattered, as if the brothers were playing with giant marbles. The barren plain and our careful movements made us feel like we were walking on the moon ... 'One small step ...' I joked.  Aside from having to breathe, it was easy crossing to the bottom of Kibo.  Then at midnight the summit climb started and the going got real tough.  We didn't feel so tough ourselves, but we got going anyway and climbed - up, breathe, up - through the night.

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