Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kili climb, day 2: to Kikelewa

Today was a bit harder.

We slept really well -- comfy in our sleeping bag and mat, unlike a lot of our fellow hikers. Camp was a hive of activity in the morning as people packed up their things, got water, and adjusted their daypacks.

Before we left camp, Jenny led us in a "gratitude circle", where we all said one thing we were grateful for. The clapping and hearing everyone's comments got us fired up and ready for the trail.

The morning started off nicely -- we set out all bunched together, and with us near the front of the pack. Soon, however, I needed a break to take off a layer, and we found ourselves happily alone... a much nicer way to hike, I think! The mountain was out, giving us gorgeous views of Kibo and Mawenzi that made me want to go go go!

The first half of the day was tough -- lots of uphill. We passed First Cave pretty early on. It turns out we're being accompanied by a pair of photographers putting together a documentary / sales piece about Zara and their Kili climbs. It was a little like having paparazzi around all the time. Here's one snapping a picture of Ken and Mary in First Cave.

It was something of a relief to get to the lunch spot at Second Cave. We went and poked around the cave, and I admired a white-necked raven hopping around.

I liked this little painted rock ... which really did point the way past the cave.

Then, having some time to kill before lunch itself, we sat down. Then I lay down. And I might well have fallen asleep for a little while. I was not alone in this.

Lunch was great: really nice bread, then spaghetti. Omnivores had bolognese, we had a bean sauce. Possibly too soon after eating a TON of pasta, we set off. We were, however, accompanied by guides whose job it was to prevent us from going too fast.

The afternoon walk was mellower than the morning walk; we had already gained most of the elevation for the day. But there were still some quality hills that left me feeling pretty gassed.

I walked for a while with Solomon today; he's my favorite guide. He gives me new words in Swahili and makes me practice them as we walk.

And right before we reached camp we saw our first giant senecio kilimanjari -- SQUEEEEEE. So exciting! And, yes, so dorky.

And speaking of flora, we also saw the impatiens kilimanjari...

Kikelewa Camp had wide open vistas and gorgeous views -- especially since we left the clouds behind us.

Dinner was tasty -- lentil soup for starter, along with mandazi -- yum! Then rice with a surprisingly small amount of green beans, and for us a hearty lentil sauce. Bananas for dessert. Niiiice.

After dinner we got another lullaby from Yesse and friends.

We're camping above the clouds tonight -- it's going to get cold! As I overheard Erik telling someone who asked if tomorrow night would be "as cold cold" as this camp, he said, "Tomorrow it will be 'bitterly cold', so enjoy the 'cold cold' tonight."

There's lots of chatter outside, but we're snugged up in our tent, warm and happy. So far I feel pretty strong, haven't had any headaches or nausea, and have PLENTY OF APPETITE. I hope that holds! Now time to sleep.

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