Trip Journal – Kilimanjaro Day 5 – Sunday June 19, 2016 – Karanga Valley (13,852 ft) to Barafu Hut / ‘Base Camp’ (15,091 ft)
Last nights sleep was fitful – we are camped on a slope so it was a night long routine of sliding down and scooting up. Tim described walking around the camp as a fun house, disorienting trying to walk around on the slope! It rained all night and we woke up to frost on the tent. The mountain sits talk behind our camp and with the rain last night the mountain is covered in snow. It is beautiful!
My plan with the hot water bottle and toe warmers worked well – too well! I woke up after maybe an hour or so and my toes were on fire and throbbing! But man that sleeping bag was cozy warm. I took the toe warmers off my toes and kept them in the sleeping bag and that worked like a charm. Note to self – toe warmers on arches of feet, not on top of toes!!
Amos tells us it’s another ‘short, easy’ day hiking to Barafu Hut which will be our base camp from which we will hike to the summit. Today’s hike was awesome. It was cloudy and misty at first and then cleared up to be a beautiful sunny day. The sights were pretty and we took lots of pictures with the mountain behind us.
The trail out of camp was a steep windy trail and we had awesome views of the mountain and our camp behind us as the sun was coming up. You can see our camp here in the distance
Frank’s new Facebook profile photo!
The terrain is now more desolate – I thought it looked like Mars, lots of rocks and slides from the volcano. They call this Alpine Desert. There are fewer places now to pee inconspicuously.
Frank, our awesome teacher, talked to us about Summit day and how we had to be absolutely obedient to everything he told us to do. He described how some people climb Kili and think they know better and do stupid things resulting in injury, sickness or worse. We have really enjoyed not being in charge on this trip! We happily go along with everything they tell us to do – we trust Frank and Amos and our team is taking excellent care of us. We feel so lucky to be here. We assure Frank we will follow all of his guidance and have absolutely no plans of our own!
I have also really enjoyed going pole’ pole’. I had ready several books and blogs about climbing Kili and heard many type A’s talk about how frustrating it was to hike slowly. Not for us. I really enjoyed it. It never seemed overly slow to me anyway and what was the rush? In contrast to our home life, it was so nice to not be on a tight schedule or in a hurry.
It was then down through a valley before hiking steep rocky switch backs up to Base camp.
We always have to sign into each camp
It was pretty cloudy and foggy by the time we pulled up to camp Barafu Hut / Base Camp. It’s not flat anywhere really and because people are coming and going from this camp, it seems busy and there are tents everywhere. I’m pleased to find our camp in a relatively flat spot. Many people are eyeing our toilet tent longingly. Seriously don’t know how they’re doing without. Some tents are on a serious slope!
After lunch Eli sat with us in the mess tent and asked Tim lots of questions for his upcoming IT exam. They covered the gamut – firmware vs software, networking, LANs, routers, hubs, operating systems, etc. It was pretty cool.
We hung out in the tent in the afternoon because with the sun behind the clouds it was pretty cold. As I was getting in I saw a guy being assisted by two other guys, appeared to be altitude sickness. It was getting real now. We took lots of naps on this trek which I loved!
We were very surprised to get cell service at this camp. First time since we left the gate! We got off a couple text messages to the family to let them know we were safe at Base Camp and making our summit trek in the morning. I was able to text my Dad and wish him a happy Fathers Day.
We celebrated Fathers Day for Tim in our tent at Base Camp!
That night we had our summit briefing with Amos and Frank. We talked about what to wear, what time we’d wake up and head out. 11:40 pm was the plan for departure.
We set the alarm for 11:00. We were nervous but ready!