Saturday, June 14, 2008

African Adventure: Kilimanjaro Trek Day 3 (April 1)


Its the end of Day 3 of our Kilimanjaro Trek. After waking up to a hard frost and ice all over the tent, we left Shira Hut (at an elevation of 3900 m (12 800 ft)) around 9 am and hiked towards Baranco Hut. This was an acclimatization day where we skirted eastwards around the mountain ascending to 4300 m at halfway then descending back down to 3940 m (13 000 ft) over the 5 hrs and 40 mins we hiked. Today was tougher than the first two days which to be honest were not that bad at all. We are all quite tired and feeling varied mild effects of the altitude, cold, and hiking around 25 km. The weather which has been very disappointing with sporadic light rain or light sleet and we spend all day hiking surrounded by clouds which set in by early morning. The clouds usually clear completely over night so we wake up to a spectacular view of the mountain, but they then close in by about 10 am so we miss the breathtaking views characteristic of the more challenging Macheme route we are hiking. The weather notwithstanding, we are all in very good spirits.

I am incredibly proud of Gena who has forged ahead every minute. I hike with her at her pace while Aaron usually hikes ahead with the porters. We are above the vegetation zone now and only see sparse clumps of grass and rocks covered by lichens. Its amazing to think that we are only 3 degrees south of the equator, only 3 days ago we were in rain forest, and that in a weeks time we will be on Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean.

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