Friday, 12 March 2010

Kilimanjaro Diary - Day 5

Day 5. Up even earlier. A glorious eight hours of trekking ahead of us. The landscape was wide and open and sprawling. The exponentially increasing effects of the sun were really making themselves known. Even though the terrain wasn't very steep to start with we still had to stop fairly frequently and remember to slap on more sunscreen. Today was the day that the altitude really started to kick in.

I really wasn't sure how, if at all, the altitude was going to affect me. I think I was lucky in most respects. The only real symptom I got was a headache. The lower oxygen levels got me feeling a bit tired and emotional. By lunch time I was feeling pretty miserable. I had the option of taking a more lateral route to the next camp but felt that would be copping out so I carried on; the whole point of this was to start getting acclimatised so I thought I'd do better to keep going. James managed to cheer me up a bit after lunch with talk of music and stuff so by the time we hit our highest point of 4600m I was feeling tonnes better and even found a massive rock to climb and sit on. James has that picture somewhere.
Later in the afternoon, on our descent, it felt like we were in the wild west (see above). The day seemed really long, not least because we got more rain; and they all start to merge into one a bit.
The porters and guides seemed to have a never ending supply of good cheer though. I think if it wasn't for them far fewer of us would have made it to summit day, let alone summit night. Below is the view we had from our base camp that evening. That bit of rock that's covered in clouds... we had that to contend with the next day. But not until after we had a makeshift pub quiz!

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