Kili Day 3 - Barranco Hut
Trip Start May 19, 2011
8Trip End Jun 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
Barranco Camp Site
Starting our hike, I notice that as we ascend we start losing sight of our tree groundsels (they remind me so much of the quiver trees in Namibia), and all I've left to look at are my everlastings (paper flowers). And after a while even these started disappearing. All that was left was rocks. Rocks, boulders and more rocks... The vegetation and its changes weren't our only distraction for the day, we are fortunate enough to be hiking with Kilimanjaro and the last of its glaciers leading the way ahead of us
Lava Tower is our highest point for the day at 4600m. We reach this soon after lunch and stay here for about half an hour to acclimatise before moving on. I was exhausted by the time we reach Lava Tower. I had somewhat of a headache and welcomed the rest. Shaun, still feeling strong like bull, was pretty keen to climb to the top of Lava Tower and head off with Simon in the lead. Henny initially estimate the tower to be about 4-5m high, but once we spotted Shaun and Simon's tiny figures appear at the top we realised we were way out with the guessing. It's a whole 45 meters above us! Shaun said despite feeling fine, he definitely felt the effects of climbing so steeply so fast. In retrospect I wish I'd joined him, but I truly didn't have the energy or stamina to take it on at the time.
I wasn't too excited for the hike from Lava Tower down to Barranco. Maybe stupid, but I REALLY dislike hiking down hill. My knees end up taking so much strain that after about half an hour of gruelling trudging, I could effortlessly pull some Forrest Gump or Elvis dance moves. Not so fantastic feeling your legs rattling beneath you. The one advantage about hiking downhill however was that each step didn't exactly take your breath away like it would climbing uphill. I guess there's always a silver lining. We started encountering a whole lot more streams and waterfalls too. The water must've been damn freezing though because icicles formed everywhere that wasn't exposed to sunlight.
The reason I'd initially decided on hiking the Machame route opposed to any other was because it was highlighted as one of the most beautiful hikes, and I've got to second that. There was constantly something amazing or incredible to draw your attention to. Not once on all my time on the mountain was I ever bored.Tired maybe yes, but not bored...
Quite a relief when we finally arrived at the Barranco campsite. This has been a long day. And definitely the toughest yet. Probably due to the climb up to Lava Tower
At the end of it all, I think the difference between whether we're going to make it to the top or not boils down to your mental attitude. If you believe you can make it, if you really want to make it, then you can!! If you do everything right from a physical perspective... climb slowly, drink a lot of water, don't exert yourself, take enough days to get to the top, and thereby avoid AMS then the only thing stopping you from summiting is what's going on in your mind. I'm mentally struggling with this mountain today, but it definitely hasn't beaten me just yet!!