Day 2 - Kili Climb
Trip Start Oct 05, 2007
16Trip End Oct 27, 2007
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I had done the mad dash to the toilet during the night. It was cold. And DARK. And I was still smarting from not having brought my malaria medication. Any opportunity to get bitten by a mosquito - including a night-time dash to the loo - in my mind was deadly. Needless to say, I didnt linger! I did however stop briefly to admire the beautiful star filled sky. At about 3 in the morning, its is absolutely filled with more stars that I have ever seen. And the southern constellations that we don't get to see from home were breathtaking. At 2700 metres, there simply wasn't any light pollution to obscure the view, and it was magnificent.
As the cabin crew woke, we exchanged our morning niceties and commented on eachother's snoring patters throughout the night. We quickly decided it was too cold to hang around in the cabin for very long, and coffee in the mess hall became priority one for us all. We did the obligatory teeth brushing from the steps of the cabin (no showers or fresh clothes changing required).
I did discover while rolling up my sleeping bag - that taking the bottom bunk has its advantages. During the night, a pair of black panties had fallen into my bag from the bunk above. The culprit shall remain nameless at this stage of the blog, but it proved to be just the ice breaker this group needed to create boundless conversation over the coming days.
I had missed sunrise over the camp by about an hour. The sky beautiful - pink and orange clouds hung in the air that morning.
A warm breakfast for friend eggs, sausages (actually, they were hot dogs but who's complaining), toast and a strange porridge that was made from millet. It was finer than oatmeal, more watery than cream of wheat, and honestly, tasted like soil
The initial ascent continued through mountain rainforest. The weather had cleared and the sky was a beautiful blue, while heavy thick clouds hung below the altitude of the camp. The trail began as a fairly gentle slope, interspersed with rocky portions - nothing that we could not easily manage. But the sun beat down and the layers of clothing from the morning start quickly began to fall away.
The forest turned to grassy moorland as we continued to ascend. Beautiful trees covered in spanish moss fell away from view, replaced by scrub brush and alien species that looked more like cacti.
A brief stop for lunch a few hours into the climb allowed for a much needed bio break, and an opportunity to meet up with climbers we had met the previous night at Mandara camp. This was an especially nice stop, as the views to nearby Mawenzi peak were beautiful. The massive lunch didn't hurt either
After 45 minutes or so, we were on the move again. The path over the next hour or so continued through moorlands filled with small and colourful flowers, the steady trail broken by the odd stream. At long last, we reached a rocky valley that lay at the edge of the lava ridge marking the approach to Horombo camp. It was a sight for sore eyes, as we were by now a dusty and sun baked crew with 6 hours of trekking under our belts for the day.
Horonbo is the biggest of the camps - with trekkers converging both on their way up and down the mountain here. It also had ONE flush toilet - a luxury compared to the squat toilets (read: hole in the ground) on offer at the other sites.
Our crew divided into sleeping groups (myself bunking down with Richard, Kitty, Rick). After a quick body wash with supplied hot water, we were off to dinner at the mess hall.
Dinner lingered this night a little longer that others, but the toll of today's hike meant that we were still in bed before 9:30. Lights out and aside from a midnight outdoor pee in the bush, that's all she wrote for Thursday.