Monday, 8 March 2010

Kilimanjaro Diary - Day 3

After the last good nights sleep I was going to get for a week it was up bright and early (I don't remember how early), breakfast of toast and weetabix (breakfast of champions!) and once our possessions had been sorted into staying, day bags and duffles, it wass time to hop on the minibus to Machame gate.

There was a fair bit of milling around while we collected water and lunch (in the cutest little tins) and signed in so that the park, in theory, would know who was inside at any time. Having seen the system through to the end I have very little faith in this system and you could probably get nice and lost in there for weeks at a stretch if you wanted to.

We had the obligatory group photo and got introduced to the vast team of guides and porters who were to accompany us all the way to the summit. We had 3 main guides, cooks, water porters, toilet porters (has to be the worst job but they were fab) and an abuncande of other people. We were probably outnumbered 2 to 1. And then we were off. The way was pretty well trodden to start with, good packed dirt track and steps. Started to get to know my fellow trekkers and the immediate team. Dr Geoff intrigued me most as he's a real action man but keeps it very down low. Simon is just insane. He was going to be climbing Kili again with a different group as soon as we'd finished! And Tariq was just along to see what it was all about.

Of course there are no toilets to speak of on the mountain. Actually there are a few sheds with holes in the floor on the lower reaches (thank you India) but otherwise it's a case of finding a spot where you won't be spotted, so to speak. You get better at this, or at least more daring, as the week goes on and the vegetation thins out... Anywho, we eventually stopped for a lunch of sweet sandwiches, baby bananas, cake and chocolate. And water. Lots and lots of water.

I don't really remember anything amazing happening until we reached the first camp. What was amazing was watching the porters over taking us with duffles, tents and other assorted equipment balanced on back, shoulders, neck and heads. One was even carrying fresh eggs! We saw him repeatedly over the course of the week. The first camp was a little cramped compared to what we experienced later. Several groups were there at the same time. The tents were comfortable enough, 3 man tent for two. Dinner was soup and either pasta or rice, I can't remember, vegetable sauce and fresh fruit. Despite the fog that swept in, the views across the valley were spectacular... just some of many we were to see...

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