Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kili climb, day 3: to Mawenzi Tarn

Wil above the clouds, Mawenzi Tarn camp
Today was a short, glorious day.

Slept well again -- feeling lucky! We were in bed from 8pm - 6am. Got up early to see the sunrise -- lovely pink clouds.

Saw our first giant senecio last night, and could see one this morning not far from camp where the leaves hadn't fully opened yet. Glorious!

Had a great morning of hiking -- a short but steep trail with lots of view of Kibo across the heath.

The second part of the morning we hiked with Solomon so he could work on my Swahili. He taught me to say "shikamoo", a respectful greeting. Apparently it literally means "I hold your feet".

Mawenzi Tarn is just over that little ridge...

And behold... Mawenzi Tarn! (And our camp for the next two nights.)

We took the obligatory "camp sign" photo with Solomon ... the unfinished new ranger station is in the background.

Lunch was a massive heap of chips, some coleslaw, and chicken for the omnivores / beans for us. And crazy-sweet pineapple for dessert.

After lunch we went for a walk around the camp to find a nice spot to chill by ourselves. We love this rocky area, full of cairns and devoid of people, high above the clouds.

Wil with Mawenzi in the background; our camp at the bottom of the frame
White-necked ravens kept circling the camp. We kept going back and forth on a day vs. a night summit. This morning we got here to Mawenzi Tarn and felt great -- like we could keep going -- so perhaps the day is the way to go.

Our porters did a great job of getting here first and staking out a spot for our camp -- we clearly have the prime location, essentially all the flat space closest to the tarn. The other, smaller groups -- a small Zara tour, a Kandoo group, and a largish, super well-branded group (the orange and black tents below) -- have spots that are less good. We WIN!

Eventually we went on an acclimatization hike up to a ridge over camp -- just another 150m of elevation or so -- and then headed back. I do wish we had spent more time at the "top", but it was still good to get higher. And there were some beautiful views from the top.

we headed up that trail on the other side of the lake

racing the sunset behind Kibo

It didn't feel like we had gone particularly far, but there's the camp waaaaay down there.

Dinner was pasta shells and a bit of cheese. We had a vegetable sauce for the top, plus mango for dessert. I love eating all this fruit. And hanging out above the clouds.

Tomorrow we'll have a rest day, with just a short hike in the morning as a "shakeout". But the goal for tomorrow is really just to relax and store up some energy.


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