Mt. Kilimanjaro. What can I say? I know it wasn’t a lot of peoples favorite part of this trip but I am not going to lie I loved it! We left the Outpost around 8am; Lisa said it was about a 45 minute trip to Kili but….it ended up being about a 2 hour ride through the Tanzanian country side. It was very rainy the whole trip there and it ended up raining the whole way up the mountain.
We got to the Kilimanjaro Gate weary after the long cramped ride. As soon as we got off the bus we were haggled by locals to buy various dry bags, bracelets, and t-shirts. I walked past them saying “Hapana asante.” No thank you, in Swahili. I was very eager to start making my way up the mountain. The first thing we had to do before making our treck was sign in. The sign in process included our name, age, and passport number. I’m surprised they didn’t ask for our blood types. After the final sign in process it was finally time.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is 19,330 ft. We only climbed about 9,000 ft., to the first base camp. It ended up being a five hour trip total from base camp to the bottom. It took us three hours to get to the top. The scenery reminded me of something out of Jurassic Park, dense jungle filled with mist. We followed a path up that could really only fit two people walking side by side. The path was winding and very steep at some points. It was littered with large stones and some roots and it was extremely muddy. The rain really didn’t let up that day. It continued to pour our whole way up. The climb was a bit treacherous but what started to bother me a little bit was acclimating to the altitude. I definitely was feeling a shortness of breath on our way up as well as a little light headed at times. The last third of the way up my breath seemed to even out as we went a little slower up the path. I did take some chewable Pepto-Bismol as well. This is supposed to alevate altitude sickness. The climb up went a lot quicker than I thought it would. The first base camp was filled with sleeping huts and a small lodge where we ate our pack lunches. I was freezing when we stopped, more from sweating inside my rain jacket than the actual rain. After lunch we were asked if we wanted to go up a little farther and see the crater. How could I say no? The crater area was a different dream like landscape. It was filled with dry wispy light green vines and shrubs; much different from the jungle landscape we had been used to all day.
Sadly we had to make our way down soon after we saw the crater. I saw the other path that continued up and I kept thinking how much I wanted to push on but I knew today’s trip was coming to a close. The way down was like a mud slide. It began to rain once again as we got farther down the mountain. The dry wispy shrubs soon turned a wet fogy rain forest. The climb down only took us a little over two hours. As we got to the bottom I felt kind of sad todays trip was over. I wanted to more. I vowed to myself on our way down that one day I will be back to Kilimanjaro to make a trip to the top. Any takers?!