This post is a continuation of the series on Kilimanjaro Mountain in August 2016. We are on day three on the Machame Route at Shira Cave Campsite. The previous day had finished with an acclimatization exercise. This is done by taking you to an elevation higher than your camp. You stay at this elevation for an hour and then return to camp. The process will allow the body to adjust for high altitude.
It was here that I bumped into Christian Wild and his lovely partner Maiya Aichner. They were from Austria and they were avid hikers. Maiya is a professional pianist. They are also philanthropist and are supporting the education of a girl in Malawi via an international NGO. We immediately made a connection. I respected their love to financially support a child whom they had never met from a country to which they had never been. May God bless Maiya and Christian abundantly.
On the third day we woke up with thin powder on the ground. It was snow! How lovely. Snow right next to the tropics near summer time. By now we were used to the routine. We would have hot water brought to the tent. We would use it to freshen up, taking a bath of sorts. We would brush our teeth with cold water. In fact, even what would have been warm water would feel cold. Then it would be time for breakfast in our dining tent. Afterwards, we would pack and go.
One more incredible thing that happened on the third day was that we woke up with clouds underneath us. We were walking above the clouds. The clouds looked like a thick carpet of white fluffy bubbles. You needed to be a god to walk on this carpet.
Soon we were on the trail to the next camp. We had many adventures on the way and the bodies were beginning to react to effects of high altitude. There is a sickness associated with it and we were adequately warned about it. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. Others, who genetically struggle to adjust to low oxygen conditions and high altitude, would already have began to experience some of these symptoms at this point. Oh! I forgot. Another symptom is loss of appetite. Unfortunately, in order to survive here one has to eat often and take water regularly.
On our team, David the hiking member and not David the guide was beginning to have headaches. Our guides were paying close attention to him. Fortunately, we had brought alone medicine that could help manage the condition and some of the symptoms.
For more acclimatization we went to Lava Tower that stands at 4,600 m. This is the same height as Mount Meru, which is the ninth tallest mountain in Africa and the second tallest mountain in Tanzania.
Later that afternoon we arrived at Baranco Camp which was at 3,900 m. Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the mountain in particular and in Africa in general was now in plain view. It was an impressive sight. The peak was a rock dome with stripes of snow. It was kind of flattish at the top, with one end tapering into a gentle slope of sorts. Its possible access was suggested in the general shape. It was exciting to finally see where we were heading. In just two days, we would be making our first attempt on this majestic peak. I went to bed thinking about Uhuru Peak and nothing else.
The narration will continue in the next post. Please, let’s be together.