Friday, February 22, 2013

Kilimanjaro: Day 2 - Machame to Shira

Continuing on with day 2 of the climb!

Feb 6th, 2013       2:15 pm
Shira Camp (3850 m)

Day 2 - successful! We left camp around 7:30 this morning and hiked uphill (almost zero plateaus) for about 5 hours (10km) and ascended from 3000 m to 3850 m. 

We left in the morning to avoid the rain and we were lucky. As soon as we got into the lunch tent it started to rain. Even some ice pellets fell (I called it hail but one of the girls works as a flight service specialist aka air traffic controller and she knows her weather).
The hike today was technically more challenging: all uphill, sometimes at a very steep incline and very rocky. We passed through a few dodgy spots where we were walking across thin outcrops of rocks over looking some steep drops. But so long as you looked down instead of up you were okay.

It was crazy at times to look back and see how high we had come. We walked straight through the clouds and our camp is right in the cloud path too. At times when they roll in it's like the whole camp has disappeared. Once we get above 4100 m it's all snow, or so we've been told.
Two of our group members are really feeling the altitude. They've had bad headaches and both threw up today. They're troopers though, that's for sure. I'm glad I'm taking diamox (acetazolamide). All I've dealt with is the occasional tingle in my fingers. Definitely liveable.
We've just finished lunch (carrot soup with french toast minus the sweetness, and pasta with a beef & vegetable sauce. Breakfast was this very thin porridge made with corn flour which was surprisingly pretty good, toast, eggs, hotdogs, and some fruit. Then we got little bags of snacks to take with us. David is our waiter who brings the food to us and he is adorable.
We're resting now for about 2 hrs and so long as the rain holds off (it's stopped now) we'll be going on an hour and a half hike another 100 - 150 m up to acclimatize to the altitude. Tomorrow apparently is a 7 - 8 hr day but not too hilly....we'll see. Nap time.
----nap ---

The landscape has changed completely from rain forest to transition (kind of where Machame camp was) to moorland-heather zone. There are no more trees, just shrubs and the kind that you would expect to see in the desert. The ground is very rocky, no grass, no soil really. There were muddly patches and some streams and even a beautiful small waterfall that some of the porters were catching water from underneath. Speaking of water, I've managed to put away almost 3 L today. They recommend 4 -5L but that's crazy. Yesterday I foolishly thought I had finished my 2L camel pack but I had only gotten through about half of it and 1 L, while under normal circumstances seems like a lot, was not going to get me to the summit. I added Mio to my water and the flavour helped me down it much faster. Plus once I drank about half of my water bottle I added in mango juice and then killed that. The downside is that I have to pee all the time. But I'm in good company: one of the other girls pees as much as I do!


The nap was fine, just waiting to find out now if we'll be going hiking. It just finished raining quite hard for about 5 -10 mins. Haji will let us know.

8:45 pm.
So we walked. A gradual incline up 180 m for about an hour then we turned around and came back down. The raingear is on now though. Tomorrow we follow the same route upwards. Dinner tonight was amazing. Potato and ginger soup with crepes, fried chicken, rice with vegetable sauce and a cabbage slaw with pickles. Plus the standard tea/coffee/hot chocolate. It's coooooold tonight but the view is amazing. For a bit while the sun was setting we could see orange lightning off in the distance. The stars tonight... I don't think I've ever seen more of them at once.
Wake up at 6 am with more tea for 7 - 8 hrs of hiking around the lava tower!

Our camp (above)
Our camp from our afternoon hike (below)

Addendum: I think Shira camp was my favourite spot. It was relatively flat and open and the stars were insanely clear in the sky. 


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