Friday, March 17, 2006

Going up, late start and all in one room.

1. Watching the sunrise turn the clouds gold.

Sunrise can be tricky. You wake up all groggy and cross at being pulled from your sleeping bag too early. Then you scramble up to a convenient spot and you wait and you wait and you wait. The sky goes a bit pink, or at least you think it does. And you realise you are cold and your bottom has gone numb. You think affectionately of beds you have known and yawn fit to split your head. After a bit more sitting, the stars have gone dim and the air is lighter, definitely lighter. You wait some more, maybe shut your eyes for a moment. Suddenly: ‘There you are! We thought you’d fallen down a hole’ and it’s much lighter and your fellow happy campers are wondering if you enjoyed the sunrise. ‘We were right up there. It was a deeply moving and spiritual experience.’

Rosey and Elaine strode manfully up the bouldertumbled slope of Spitzkopf while I pulled the sleeping bag over my head and pretended I didn’t care for sunrises. But soon the zips from the other tents and the quiet kitchen noises made me want to be up and doing, so I pulled on some clothes -- mostly right way round -- and set off round the foot of the rock. After not-too-long a walk over the long grass and a few thorns in my sandals I found a good spot. There was a nailparing of sun on the horizon under a lead grey cloud bank, the top of which appeared to have been heated until it glowed.

2. Having a late start. Today we left at 10am -- which meant plenty of time to moon around enjoying the place while Francis, breakfast duties over, climbed Spitzkopf.

3. We are sleeping in a dorm. It may be some people’s idea of hell -- but it’s very reassuring when you wake in the night to hear the other girls nearby.
Spitzkopf to Swakopmund, Namibia