Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mt Kilimanjaro—part 1

In my daypack I carried raingear, a lightweight parka, a camelback water bladder and an extra litre bottle of water, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, a headlamp, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a small sketch kit which included a small Moleskine watercolor journal, Staedler pens, a Pentel Pocket Brush pen, (watercolor pencils which I never used) and a small watercolor palette. My pack was not outrageously heavy but every little thing adds up, when you are hiking 4-6 hours a day….uphill.

My good intentions of sketching were slightly curtailed by the fact that we hiked all day and it was cold at night.

Day 1—After a three-hour jeep ride to the start of the climb we all waited around while they weighed our luggage. Not knowing anyone or what to expect of the days to come, I tried to calm my nerves by drawing as we all just waited—not too successful.

I had no idea that this would be one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

Every evening we would devour a plate of popcorn and drink tea with powered milk and lots of sugar. I usually managed a quick sketch before dinner and then would huddle in my tent, in my sleeping bag, wearing many layers and usually a hat while I added color by the light of my headlamp before I would finally succumb to sleep usually before nine o’clock.

Camp would come alive very early in the morning. Nature would call and we would all wait as long as possible knowing it would be a cold walk to the outhouse. I brought the “Freshette” which was an alternative to that cold night walk. I am not sure what was the lesser of the two evils…

Beautiful Shira Camp 1 at 11,000 ft. Altitude low enough that it wasn’t too cold to sit outside and sketch before tea and popcorn.

We came out of the dining tent after dinner to see the full moon peek out from behind Kili. We all just stared, as this beautiful moment was happening before or eyes. The cold night air forced me into my tent where I quickly sketched peeking out to check the moon and its light on the landscape.


. said...

All really great paintings (I just love your relaxed style with the lines)... But by far, I love the tree on the first page and the last page with landscape swimming in moon light. Beautiful work and you have created great memories.

ElasticUnicorn said...

Hello Jennifer,
Wow, I have just read your blog from Christmas until now. Amazing!
I have always wanted to do this and now probably never will (I'm recovering from bowel and lung cancer but seem to have got to a point where although clear of cancer it has left me nowhere near my old self).
I agree with . your paintings a wonderful - beautiful.
Thanks for the great blog.

donnamcm said...

Great series Jen, wonderful textures in the drawings and of course great use of watercolor.

ArtbyBernadette said...

LOVE your sketches of this adventure! What wonderful memories when you look back at these gorgeous images!

Jilly said...

Brilliant sketches and a fascinating trip. I just had to send your link to my cousin who arrived home from climbing Kilimanjaro last week.
Jill (in Australia)

Cathy Holtom said...

Fantastic sketches thank you for sharing the experience.
(Your 'rations' don't sound very filling!)

Dan Kent said...

Amazing you were able to draw at all - and these are just beautiful, and will be such memorable scenes from your untrip. The tree is stunning - love the moonlit view as wel.

Barbara Weeks said...

WOW! How I love your adventures! Thank you for taking us along with your! Gorgeous sketches!

Margaret Ann said...

Thanks for taking us all along...every photo and sketch simply intriguing...through you my spirit soars...:)

Louise said...

Jennifer, I have just spent a little time (a lot of time!) catching up on all your wonderful Mt. Kilimanjaro posts. The highest peak I have climbed is Mount Whitney, and to think of myself trying to draw things along the way is laughable. I'm so impressed by your discipline and the fabulous results. Also how sweet of you to give away some of your climbing essentials. Congrats on your fantastic achievement, and thanks for such a feel-good start to my day!