Climbing a mountain for breakfast

My host and I got up at half past five this morning, and started climbing the mountain next to her house with a friend. Just to watch the sunrise.

It was a hard climb, Mbeya is already about 1500 m above sea level and the air is very thin. The spot on the mountain we were going to was over 2000 m. As the path started ascending I felt as if my lungs got no oxygen no matter how deep breaths I took. “It took us all three months of dizziness before we got used to this altitude, just stop when ever you want,” my host said.

As we got more than half way I told her that “in the beginning I didn’t think I would make it this far even, but one step at a time it’s pretty cool hey.”
“Yes,” she said, “it’s like life. You look ahead of you and just see this crazy steep mountain, and it feels hopeless. But just look a few steps in front of you and suddenly you have climbed it all.”

And it was just like that. After an hour climbing, slipping in the mud coloured orange from the sunrise, we reached the big white cross shining white as if the angels themselves had rubbed it with their wings. We saw the sun rise over Mbeya, this small African town in southern Tanzania where albinos once were harshly hunted for their organs, and I felt so strong. I could breathe again and I felt as if I could do anything today. Beneath us the town stretched all the way to the soft green hills and a whole chain of mountains. As we sat there I realized we were just about as high up as the tallest mountain in Sweden reaches. And there I sat, wearing a shirt and long shorts, and the coldness of Kebnekaise (our Swedish mountain) felt so far away.

To start the day early with a trek in the mountains is something I would love to do every week. But unluckily I live in the flat landscape of south Sweden when I’m not traveling. I just have to enjoy these moments as much as I can when they come.


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