The second highest point in Tanzania
Trip Start Sep 12, 2008
6Trip End Sep 29, 2008
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Anyway, here goes again.
So i must of been tired last night as i manged to forget to say that we saw a wild elephant on the first day too!!!
Our guide had only seen one before in the 45 trips he had done previously, we were very lucky. The Americans came in handy for once as one of them spotted it. It was a long way off but we got a good look and a couple of pictures too.
Right so back to 1am Thursday the 18th September. We were ready for the off, the yanks had started to moan already, but hey, i was so done with them by now!!
I don't really remember too much about the ascent, mainly because it was bloody cold and dark and i just wanted to get too the top and not tire myself out. The guide set a very slow pace which was frustrating to start off with but i was very thankful for it towards the end of the climb.
The climb started with quite a steep and relentless zig zag for about 40minutes. At the top of this was the first mark of the hike, Rhino point at 3,800m. I think it was called rhino point because a rhino skeleton was found there? Well there was still same there so thats the story I'm sticking with. We then descended for quite a way and the walk turned into quite a hairy scramble. After that we followed the crater rim for quite a while. I stupidly asked our guide if anyone had ever died on the rim to which he replied "yes, MANY many people, if you slip, no alternative, deady", i wished i hadn't of asked!!
So now we were walking along the rim, then after what must of been 2-3hours we started to see the glow of the sun on the horizon. This indicated we were close to the summit as the guide had set our pace for a sunrise summit time. Unfortunately a quick glance up to the summit show that it was covered in cloud so we were unlikely to get the views of Kili and Kenya that the guide book had tempted us with
God this keyboard is getting on my nerves!!! I'm having to whack the keys so hard to get them to work, now everyone is looking at me funny!!
Anyway, by now the American guy had dropped along way back with one of the porters. The lady was taking too many breaks. When you stop at this altitude and in the night you get very cold, fast. i decided i had had enough and broke for the summit on my tod. Andy followed suit and about 15minutes later we were both standing next to the flag. Visibility must of been 15 meteres max but it didn't matter. We had achieved our fist goal in Tanzania, we were now on the second highest point in the country and had gained some valuable experience and acclimatisation ready for the second.
I must admit i felt really good one the summit, i was full of energy and had little altitude related problems. I hope that this may be the same for Kili. I'm expecting to be much worse but hopefully not bad enough to stop me summiting. After the photos we headed down. Again i went at my own pace which was stupidly fast to start with. Experience has taught me that you really need to get below 4,000m asap. Once i had got below that point (my watch came in very handy) i took my time as well as lots of pictures
The rest of the day was a blur, we slept, ate, slept and ate some more, before heading down to the lodge we spent our first night. Here we just chillaxed before going to bed.
The last day i think is generally abit of a means to an end for most people, however for us i think it was maybe the best day. The hike back to the gates where you catch the bus normally takes about one and a half hours. I think it took us four and a half!!
Our guide pretty much let us do what we wanted, at one point we were stalking a troop of baboons through the jungle!! We walked off the path for most of it, searching for as much wildlife we could find. We even saw big and baby leopard footprints alongside a watering hole. Again we saw loads of giraffe, buffalo, pigs, monkeys, deer and much more. Our guide let us go anywhere. It was amazing. Back at the gates we collected our certificates and handed out the tips. I think we gave the guide a tip of about 2 months wages. To start off with he was getting 20 pounds but by the end of the second day that was doubled. If i had of had it i would have given him much more because what he gave us was priceless.
Again we saw loads of wildlife on the way out of the park, at one point we had to pull over to let a troop of about 30 baboons run past the car
In all the trip was amazing, so many things i will never forget happened. Much more than i can write down here.
So next. Kilimanjaro. We spoke to some people last night who had just finished, some didn't make it but they all looked like broken men. It made me quite nervous but we have done as much prep as we can, its now time to give it a go. We leave on Sunday and will be back on Friday next week. Our summit attempt will start at 10pm your time on Wednesday night. Wish us luck!!
See you soon.
PS sorry spell check not working as well as keyboard, you may need to guess of what i have tried to write!!