Monday, October 19, 2009

Mt Kilimanjaro - part 2

Above the clouds on Kilimanjaro

From the second day, the terrain became much more volcanic. The lush jungle of day one was left behind (or below) and the vegetation became scrubby and sparse.

The track also became steeper and more rocky, but the most noticeable change was the dust! We were climbing in dry season, which means the track was unlikely to be muddy and slippery. Instead there was dust everywhere, including up my nose and in my teeth!

Our guide on the volcanic terrain

However, it was a sunny, hot day and we got to our next camp, Shira Camp, by 1:30pm for a late lunch. Shira Camp sits at around 3,800m, and by the time we arrived my head was aching from the altitude. I took some pain relief, and that helped ease it off a bit - but having already felt the effects of the altitude on day two I was pretty concerned about how I would hold up for the rest of the trip.

My worries intensified that night. About an hour after dinner I began to feel unwell, but was taken by surprise when I suddenly had to stick my head outside the tent and vomit. It happened a second time later that night (although by this time I had a plastic bag at the ready!) I knew this was a common reaction to altitude, but it did little for my confidence. It was only day two!!

I did manage to hold down my porridge the next morning (I avoided eating anything more rich than that) which was good because day three involved quite a long walk. We ascended to 4,600m at a place called the Lava Tower, then descended to Barranco Camp, back down at 3,900m for the evening.

We came across a little striped mouse on one of our breaks, who was busy looking for dropped crumbs and other goodies.
By the time we were approaching the Lava Tower my head was hurting again, as this was another new high altitude. I was hopeful that as we went back down towards the camp the headache would subside. That's the point of these "acclimatisation days" where you walk up to a higher altitude, then sleep lower down. To some extent I did feel better when we got to camp, consider the seven hours we'd been walking.

In front of the Lava Tower
As a reward for our efforts, the clouds parted and we got a clear view of the summit before it got too dark.

1 comment:

JOE TODD said...

Thanks for the tour. Looking forward to seeing more photos