On Wednesday night I went to bed at Miriakamba hut feeling apprehensive about the long tough night ahead climbing Mount Meru in Tanzania. I felt vulnerable being on a mountain with a very inadequate rescue service. My husband Paul believed it was well within my capabilities, having climbed it himself last November. However this was low season and my guide Sunday and I were going to be the only two up there.
I was woken at 11.30pm by Sunday and we started our climb at 12.00 midnight. The moon was bright and the sky fairly clear, I could see the outline of the summit in the distance. We had already discussed that we would just give it a go and see how far we could get and if things got tricky then we'd turn back. I did a visualisation of me completing the climb and being on top of the mountain, I pictured how I felt and what I saw and imagined I was there.
I decided to treat this adventure as a walking meditation, when I put my foot down I felt the ground underneath and just noticed the sounds and sensations around me. Each time thoughts came about what lay ahead and the unfamiliarity of it all and I caught myself feeling anxious, I came back to my walking pace and said to myself 'here now' 'here now'. Even when we were in heavy rain, a storm and later snow I just focused on this. It kept me really in the moment and calm and infact the time passed quickly and I found the steep crater rim manageable.
The views were breathtaking literally and the altitude hit me in the final hour about 100m from the summit, I was cold, wet, nauseous and breathless. We were so near yet it felt so far, I cried with frustration and exhaustion. Sunday coached and supported me, my mindful intention was there but but it was a challenge to return to it.
We summitted at 8.07 am, I stopped crying and then just slid down on my mindful arse.
Have to say that's the last climb at altitude I will do.
More on mindful walking here -