Trip Journal – Kilimanjaro Day 4 – Saturday June 18, 2016 – Barranco Hut (13,061 ft) to Karanga Valley (13,852 ft)
Each morning the guides would greet us with lots of enthusiasm! “How’d you sleep? ” To which we’d reply – Good! (Which truthfully was more like – sleep an hour at a time then wake, reposition, pee, sleep. Repeat.) Frank would always respond – “it’s a good sign.” He was always looking out for signs of how we were tolerating the altitude. He said to Tim – “I heard you snoring last night. You sound like a baby lion!” We’ve been laughing at this for days. In reality, we went to sleep pretty early most nights, being so tired from the days’ hike.
Short day of hiking today – left 8:40 and arrived into camp just after noon. The first part was our most challenging yet on Kilimanjaro – switch backs up a steep cliff, sometimes hand over hand up the rocks with steep drops below. Our camp was at the bottom and here is what we hiked up –
This woke us right up and we loved it!! We we’re rewarded at the top with some spectacular view of Uhuru peak. This took us about 90 mins and 800 ft gain. There is one particular spot called “kissing rock” where you have to hug the rock to get by. I gave it an air kiss 😊. I was astounded at how the porters handled this stretch – with those heavy loads on their heads and backs, and no trekking poles like we had. Amazing.
Here is the view from the top, looking back down at our camp.
At the top of this stretch we were above the clouds and took some fun pics!
I once again thought of how many people have described Kilimanjaro as “a long walk”. I will tell you for certain – they either have no idea what they are talking about or they took an easier route (possible Marangu is like that). This thing is no joke.
From here we descended down through some valleys and streams, lots of volcanic rock slides.
Clouds came in later and it got very foggy and cool. Pulled into camp, signed in and soon as we got into our tent it started to rain, and rained most of the afternoon.
Today I asked Frank if he’s done many climbs during the rainy season and he said “yes – more adventure!” I could not imagine. Frank has been hauling this golf umbrella on his pack and once at camp it finally got some use. We are not far above the rainforest now which explains the rain. We’ll see if we get more. Many people keep hiking through this camp straight onto base camp which is about another 3 hours. We talked to a group who were doing that and I felt for them as they must have done at least a good portion of it in the rain.
Each time we arrive at camp we have to sign in. I cracked up signing in at Karanga Valley – there were two girls just ahead of us that we had seen along the trail and I was feeling good about keeping up with them. Looking at their sign in – they were both 22, one was a student and the other unemployed. Maybe the parents were financing the trip!?
Days and nights are definitely colder now and my toes are the only part struggling to warm up. Tonight I have on toe warmers, two pairs of socks and a hot water bottle in my sleeping bag. We’ll see if it helps!
Since we left the front entrance to Kilimanjaro we have had zero luck with cell service. We hope nobody is worried! Many of the guides and porters are using their phones at some points – most are older flip phones and the like. Our iPhones – no joy!
At this point we are pretty dirty! Staying clean with wipes, deodorant, brushing teeth and hair, is about the best we can do!
Tonight Eli asked Tim if he would help with some questions on his next IT exam, when we get to the next camp. Of course Tim was happy to be asked and will be fun for them to talk.
Tim is carrying a small solar panel and so far he’s been successful in keeping our phones, GoPro, iPad, headlamps, tent light and kindle charged up.
Tomorrow we hike another short (but steep) day to base camp. Getting close now to summit day!
Reflecting with lots of gratitude today –
Gods grace that we are here
Gods creation and the opportunity to experience it this way
Health – we feel good, handling the altitude well, no sicknesses or ailments to speak of
Frank – for being a great teacher, telling us step by step how to get through the challenging points of the climb
Tim – for doing this with me and supporting another one of my crazy ideas. Grateful he is loving it as much as I am. Tonight he set us a goal to come back in 10 years and offer to bring all the kids!
Our porter team – grateful for all they do to make us comfortable. By the time we walk into camp, our tent is ready with bags inside, followed by hot water to wash up and hot tea
Bonifas – our cook, incredible meals, no two the same, hot for breakfast, lunch and dinner (unless we are picnicking)
Jiwe – for hauling and cleaning our toilet tent. The alternative is just a hole in the ground at each of the camps and you do your best to aim. These “drop chutes” as they call them, smell, well, horrible. Especially when I have to inevitably get the up in the night (side effect from Diamox), I am incredibly grateful for my lovely green toilet tent nearby :).
Our gear – we have everything we need!