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Kilimanjaro

     So over the summer I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I am not joking. Sometimes it doesn't feel real, but things happened up there. Things I will now relate to you. This is not a story about a girl and her endurance and perseverance. This is not the tale of living on tiny packets of nuts and dried fruit for a week. (I did). This is not a  parable of my grueling determined foray into the unknown(ish) or of pushing myself farther than ever before. This story, friends, is the story of a girl who had to wake up in the middle of the night to pee.

     If you have ever been camping you'll know that the last thing you want to do in the middle of the night is climb out of your warm cozy sleeping bag to go out into the cold and stumble your way to the nearest "bathroom" or partially concealing foliage. Well, in this particular instance, it was very chilly.  Because MOUNTAIN. During dinner I happily sipped as much hot tea as I could, the mug was just so warm and it felt nice to cup it in my hands and to feel warmth from the inside out. (Note to self, warmth may be over-rated). Anyhoo. I eventually retired to my tent, bundled up in a few more layers, ditched the dusty hiking boots and zipped myself into my fluffy sleeping bag.

     Well, sure enough, after falling into a deep sleep I was awakened by that oh so blessed realization *bladder* that I was going to have to exit my happy place, I lay still for a while  doing that thing where you have a reasonable yet firm debate with yourself regarding your ability to will yourself back to sleep, but after far too many minutes of pretend sleeping, I resigned myself to the only practical solution.  Problem: I had a tent-mate and it was my goal not to disturb her slumber. Enter Natalie the Ninja. I adopt my best stealth mode and I quietly unzip our tent, fumble around for my hiking boots and slide them on, one foot after the other.

     This was our first night camping above the clouds so I was definitely feeling the altitude, not to mention the whole waking up out of a dead sleep groggy thing. Not necessarily helpful for stealth mode. I stood up, (too fast) and lost my balance to the point of if I didn't grab something, I was going to crash backwards into our tent, all stealth going right out the non-existent window. Solution: right next to our tent there was one of several makeshift "outhouse" tents that our porters had  set up for us. There was enough light from the moon to see that diagonally in front of me there was a rope anchoring said outhouse.  It wasn't a decision really, more of a reaction to avoiding a debacle, (ha!) but I reached out and grabbed onto that rope and as a result, I managed to slow my backward fall to the point of a slow motion movie scene where the movements just take way too long.  Unfortunately as I went down, I took down the bathroom tent with me.  Insert mindless nervous midnight giggling here. Mind you, I still think I'm a Ninja, and even though I just took out an outhouse tent in the middle of the night on top of a mountain, I feel triumphant that my "plan" worked perfectly as I had narrowly avoided flattening my own tent and unconscious tent-mate. Let's acknowledge the irony of getting up to pee and in the process demolishing the very thing I needed, and move on. Next problem: Evidence. In the morning you can imagine it was pretty clear to the other hikers that someone had been involved in an altercation with the porta-potty tent. I was surprisingly not as embarrassed as I thought I'd be and fessed up to it. Note to self: less tea.

Here are a few pictures from our campsite above the clouds that night...

Natalie Morris