OK OK, I have been terrible at blogging this month. Blogging is not one of my strong suits but I need to tell you about Kili!!!
So here is what happened:
Karen and I get on a bus to take us to Machame which is the route we choose to climb. Machame is in Moshi, east of Arusha. When we got on the bus it was full of 12 men and 1 white guy. We soon found out 10 of these men were our porters, plus 1 cook, plus 1 of their guides (Bobalu) and the white guy was going to hike with us. His name was Brian and was volunteering as a resident doctor in Moshi for 6 weeks. I think he is in Paris now...lucky duck!
So when we got the the mountain it was me, Karen, Bella (our guide), Bobalu, (the other guide), Brian, and all the porters. Together we were a group of 16, just so three of us could make it to the top!! I felt lazy already.
Day 1: No signing our lives away. No waivers in Africa! Love it! We starting hiking through what I will call 'jungle zone'. Hiked about 5 hours. It was so green and lush. It rained on us a bit. Unfortunately I speak a bit of Swahili and heard the guides said, "Mvua...kila siku"....that means, "Rain...everyday." Doomed... That night we had fish for dinner!!! They set up a separate dining tent for us every night, with appetizers of nuts or popcorn and hot drinks with dinner and fruit after. I think I gained weight on this trip...really.
**Quick note. Everyday the porters left after us because they had to clean up camp. They then passed us during the day and by the time we reached the next camp, everything was set up again and snacks awaited us. Luxury I tell you!
Day 2: I will call this day, a nice hike in New England. The trail was more rock faces and short shrubs...think top of Mansfield. We only hiked 3.5 hours this day to "The Caves." The Caves were just one little cave but it WAS A CAVE! So it was only day 2 and I woke up that night PUKING! I blame a questionable egg. Karen had similarly problems...because of the egg! I thought my climb was doomed, puking on night of day two. Thank you Momma Theresa (trail name for Karen) who had every medicine possible for the trip to make me feel better.
Day 3: A tiny bit of sun. We passed these girls from Norway I think, without sunscreen so of course Mother Theresa saved them with our extra sunscreen. Brian also received some serious blister thingys from her as well. Brian and I would have been out of luck with Karen!! Day three we traveled to Lava Tower and then descended back down a bit because of the elevation. Lava tower was a large rock (kinda like pride rock from Lion King but straight up.) What I REALLY remember about Lava Rock and all the subsequent camps was PANYA MNENE....this means fat mice. Oh man were they the fattest little mice I have every seen!! Their bellies drug against the ground while waddling to steal your food. I don't like mice, and glutinous mice...ugh, detest even more!!
Day 4: We awoke to a beautiful view of Mt Meru when the sun rose and we began day 4. We left the lovely bathrooms behind (white tile....fabulous) to start climbing to the top. We climbed up a rock face for about an hour (probably the most technical part of it all.) Once we were finished the rock face we found out one of the porters (not our group's) fell off and broke his face. We saw him later WALKING DOWN with a bandaged face. No healthcare coverage and he probably won't get paid, extremely sad. So we continued walking for 5 more hours. Had dinner at 'base camp to summit" and slept for about 3 hrs...got woken up at 10 30pm, left camp at 11 30pm and started what I call DEATH WALK.
Day 5: I would say death walk because after 6 hours of hiking that day, and few hours rest, we walked another 7 hours in the dark to the summit. I thought Karen turned into a zombie...dragging her feet like there was lead in them, every step. BUT she didn't stop! We saw one of the coolest things I have ever seen and did not realize even existed...a MOON-BOW!! It was incredible. Too bad we were all too tired, frozen, and mentally drunk to take a picture. We got to the summit just as the sun came up. Karen through ashes of her friend that passed, cried. I cried the second I made it. Ryan was here. Ryan was at that very spot, admiring what I think is one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. The closest thing to what I picture Antarctica to be like. We took pictures, until I couldn't move my finger enough to push the button and twenty minutes later, starting descending. I remember Brian saying he felt like it was the worst hang over of his life. I remember Karen not speaking at all, and I was SOOOOOO excited to see snow I started a serious snowball war mid-hike. On the way down I RAN. Two hours later we returned to base camp. Took a 1 hour nap, ate, and hiked ANOTHER 3 hours down....total hiking in a day and a half... 18 hours. Forgot to mention the last three hours down it POURED and we walked down in a river. The rain soaked through 4 layers!!! I started singing to the guide to stay san.
OK I am late for school but will finish Day 6/ Pangani later!