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Embedded Photos: 1.Above the Clouds, Mt. Kilimanjaro 2.Alpine Flowers, Mt. Kilimanjaro
Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

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August 24. MT. KILIMANJARO - Day Two  Breakfast was served in the same manner as dinner.  I sat on my stool and watched the Spanish crawl out of their tents.  When I could have used a carbo boost I was served bacon and eggs.  Too heavy.  A Spanish woman walked five feet behind my tent and squatted right next to the trail for her morning constitutional.  Oh, how I wish someone had come hiking along at that moment.

We set off at about 8:30, setting a steady pace for the day.  Pole Pole was the theme.  It meant slowly, slowly in Swahili.  The trail continued to be well maintained but was steeper than the day before, occasionally zigzagging in a stair-like fClimbing Kilimanjaro, Tanzaniaashion.   The densely packed trees quickly gave way to the open moorland where sporadic trees with moss clinging to their limbs only dotted the landscape and bushes full of dry white flowers were scattered in between.  We were climbing more than 1000 meters in elevation that day but with the steep trail it went rather quickly.  I was feeling pleased with my stamina and made better than average time.  My knees ached a bit but after weeks of sitting on overland trucks, in safari vehicles, and at the YMCA in Moshi I had been prepared for a much harder time.  It was partly because I had nothing better to do than just plug along and get to the next camp site.  David had limited English so conversations were short.  We did make a pre-lunch stop to climb a large boulder next to the trail.  It was a great vantage point to see the top of the mountain, now looking slightly more within reach.  A guy from New York had been moving along at about the same pace and we sat together and chatted a bit as we stared at our target destination.        

By the time we reached the "halfway" point for lunch I was good and ready for a longer break.  We were actually quite a bit farther than half way but the hardest of the day was behind us.  The Swedish guy, Michael, and the British woman, Hannah, arrived around the same time so we sat together again for lunch.  Some of the groups had tables set up for lunch with a table cloth, glasses and proper utensils.  There were definitely different classes of climbing going on.  I was plenty content with my pre-packed selection of snacks that included fruit, a hard boiled egg, a jam and butter sandwich, and a carrot.  It was really more than I needed so I gave the sandwich to David. 

The rest of the climb passed quickly.  At the top of the ridge we reached the highest point for the day and then dipped down to the campsite on the other side.  Rob's watch went off just before we reached the top, a little reminder that we had reached the height of Mt. Fuji.  At this elevation even the mossy trees and dried flowers were thinning as the landscape turned to alpine desert.  Massive black and white crows swooped through the sky, fully aware that trekker meant afternoon tea snacks.  The birds bravely scoured the campsite for bits of popcorn, the schedule snack of the day, and anything else they could ingest.  As I looked at the barren landscape I wondered how the Spanish would deal wiClimbing Kilmanjaro, Tanzaniath their bathroom fears with nothing to hide behind.     

The porters erected my tent just beside the kitchen tent.  As I tried to nap I realized that it wasn't an ideal location.  The ground also sloped to the right.  I had struggled with sliding towards the door of my tent during the night before so I used the gradient as an excuse to move.  I was kept separate from the Spanish but was still between their tent city and the mess tent.  As I napped I was embarrassed to experience some unexpected gas, my system rejecting the new pasty diet.  There is very little sound barrier in a tent and the Spanish thought it was uproariously funny.  Fantastic.  Shame on me for not taking a photo of the Spanish woman who peed next to my tent that morning.  Surely that was their level of humor as well?

With hours to kill until dinner I napped, talked with the Swedish/British pair, and took some photos of the dramatically snow capped Kilimanjaro that stood as a backdrop to the campsite.  The top of Mt. Meru could be seen peeking out above the layer of clouds that spread towards the horizon, blocking our view of life below the mountain.  The cloud level was just about where we had camped the night before and it already looked far away.  After sunset the temperature dropped.  I kept rolled up in my sleeping bag and the porter spoiled me by serving dinner in my tent.  It was another starch bomb, this time an enormous mound of rice with a similar mystery sauce.  My digestive system was never going to survive this trip.  I hardly dented the rice mountain.  

Day Two Stats:

Machame Camp - Shira Camp

Altitude Change:  2985m - 3812m - 3759m = 774m

Walking Time: 8:35a - (30m lunch) - 1:00p =3h 45m

ZANZIBAR Stone Town July 11 July 12-14 Nungwi July 15-18 Stone Town I: July 19-23 II: July 19-23 Paje July 23-27 Stone Town July 27-Aug 1

TANZANIA Dar Es Salaam Aug 1-3 Moshi I: Aug 3-31 II: Aug 3-31 III: Aug 3-31 Safari Circuit Aug 17 Aug 18 Aug 19 Aug 20 Aug 21 Mt. Kilimanjaro Aug 23 Aug 24 Aug 25 Aug 26 Aug 27 Aug 28

KENYA Nairobi Sept 1 Sept 2 Sept 3 Sept 4-5

UGANDA Kampala Sept 6 Sept 7-16 Kampala Short Stories

RWANDA Kigali Sept 16 Sept 17 Ruhengeri Sept 18 Sept 19 Gisenyi Sept 20 Kigali Sept 21 Sept 22

UGANDA Kampala Sept 23 Sept 24-26