Starting August 7th, my friend Margaret, myself, Ruta (our guide), and 9 porters started a 7 day journey on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Day one started with a pretty quick paced walk, per my own ambition, of 18 kilometers (11ish miles) to Machame camp which is 2980 meters above sea level (A.S.L.) I was pretty much exhausted at that point and figured out the purpose for pacing it out.
I didn’t sleep great that night and was sick towards the morning. I informed my guide and we decided to head out and see how it goes. Our hike that day was only half the distance of the first day, but involved a very steep, rocky, windy path. I was a bit scared, since i was feeling so bad, that i wasn’t going to have to turn back on day 2 of my journey, but i kept pushing forward and praying that God would help. After about an hour and a half of torture, we rounded a bend and met up with 3 other hikers. They took one look at me and asked if i was ok. I filled them in on my situation. One of them was a nurse and sprang into action. She called her brother over and had him put two large fizzy tablets into my camel bak for energy. Her brother, Clive, then asked if they could pray for me. I said “Yes, please.” He then asked if they could lay hands on me while they prayed… i said “YES, Please!” They were such an encouragement and God send in that moment. They continued on their journey and i was relieved of the contents of my stomach and felt a ton better. We met up again a ways down the path and Florence gave me some rehydration salts. They were happy to see that i was doing better. Over the next two days we met up on the path a lot. They were an encouragement every time we met.
We arrived at Shira camp (3840 meters A.S.L.) that evening after hiking for 7 hours… it should have been fine, but i needed frequent rests even after feeling a bit better. I had a great nights rest and awoke to a splendid view of Kilimanjaro from my tent. I felt 100% and was energized for our day, which was to consist of 21 kilometers (13 miles) hike of a more gradual incline till the half way mark and then a nice, fairly steep downward hike to our 3rd base camp, Baranko. Baranko camp is a lovely place situated in a valley with the peak of Kilimanjaro looking after us like a big brother.
Day four begins with a hike up Baranko wall, also nicknamed ‘second breakfast.’ It got its name because by the time you get to the top you will need a second breakfast. This was my favorite hike in our journey so far. It was up, over, down and around large rocks on the side of a cliff overlooking God’s beautiful creation.
We got to Karanga camp in the afternoon after our shortest hike yet. It was a much received blessing. I finally got the chance to use the rinseless shampoo that Nadine sent along with me. It is amazing how nice semi-clean hair feels after 3 nights of camping 🙂
We had another short hike from Karanga to Barafu camp through some of the most desolate areas i have ever walked through. It looked like a valley of broken pottery. However, it has a lovely view of the mountain.
We got to Barafu in the afternoon, had lunch, rested a little and then had dinner. At this point our guide gave us the heads up for our summit schedule. Basically, we had four hours before we had to be up again. We would wake up at 10:30 pm, be ready by 11 with all of our layers on and day packs ready to go. What he said is that it would be about 6 hours up and 3 hours down, we would get an hour to rest and then would need to be ready to leave for the next base camp where we would be sleeping that night. CRAZY!
After our nice 3 hour ‘nap’ i got all of my layers in order and had my day pack ready. Margaret and I looked like ninja’s with our balaclava’s on. 🙂
We got moving at 11:40, somehow energized for the 6+ hour walk ahead of us. It was obviously pitch black outside, being nighttime and all :), so our head lamps were of great use… thank you again, Nadine, for hooking a sister up 🙂 It was a cold, long, windy journey to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was basically a 45 degree incline on rocky unstable terrain, with a mixture of pot ash and gravel for our walking path. Slowly slowly we walked, concentrating on getting enough air in my lungs while keeping my nose sufficiently cared for so that i didn’t have snot running all over my face. Good times on the cold midnight walks. About 3 hours into the hike Margaret started having trouble breathing so our guide suggested we split up the team. I would continue on with Ruta at our pace and Margaret could take her time with Eriki, our assistant guide. At about 5:40 am we made it to Stella Point. They hardest part of the hike was over… now just a 40 min walk to make it to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. At 6:20 am, just as the sun was rising, i arrived at 5895 meters A.S.L. Happy Birthday to me! I was tired, cold, and ready to collapse, but managed to get some pictures of a very beautiful Kilimanjaro at sunrise.
It was a very trying trek down the mountain after an exhausting ascent but i made it safely back by 10:30 am.
I ate and went to bed for an hour while waiting for margaret to get back. By 2:30 we were on our feet again, heading to our next destination, Mweka camp, 4 more hours of walking.
On the 13th we had a beautiful, quick paced, walk down to Mweka gate where our journey finished.
God is good and we are both alive to tell about it. 🙂 Thanks for all of your prayers during this adventure.