Saturday, November 12, 2005

Day 3 Rest Day...

Sunrise at Shira Plateau, illuminating what is ahead of us...

Sunrise at Shira
Mmmm ...my sleeping bag is warm and cozy and we are not going anywhere in a hurry today. The sun is starting to rise and glorifies Mt. Kilimanjaro, while we remain in shadow. The air is crisp as I emerge from my warm nest, but I revel in it, knowing that the equatorial sun will soon be making itself felt.

It is a rest day and an acclimatization day. We get two extra days to acclimatize on this trek up magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro and today is one of them. The mountain climber's adage "climb high, sleep low " means in the long run that everyone has a much better chance of making the summit and not succumbing to Altitude Sickness, which according to what I have read, kills about fifteen people every year on Kili.

It is a beautiful day, the food is plentiful as always, the wash water warm :-) and my stats are good: high oxygen, low pulse, no fluid in the lungs. The usual questions from our guides are forestalled with a quick answer that we all adopt...

Hapana ...[Do you have a headache?] [no]
Hapana ...[Are you nauseous?] [no]
Hapana ...[Are you vomiting?] [no]
Ndiyo ...[Are you on Diamox?] [yes]
Clear ...[When did you last pee and what colour is it?]

My answers were all negative as I was not on Diamox until the last few days. The first time I was asked about my pee I was a bit discombobulated, but realized that the colour of your pee indicates whether you are suffering from dehydration, which is a major concern when climbing. I found consuming 3-4 litres of water a day a bit of a challenge, but usually managed 2-3.

Charles and Urio took us on the acclimatization hike 1000 feet up to a ridge above the plateau. We slowly wound our way up a twisted, dusty path, pushing our way through the thick growth of bush and small trees and flowers.

Everlasting Flower

All of sudden there was no more dust! Oh it was delightful. Just a rocky path. The view was breathtaking from the top of the ridge, but intimidating... we had such a long way to go yet.

View of Kili from Shira

The next day's trek was clearly visible, a dusty, rocky path across the plateau, it disappeared in the distance between a fold in the side of the mountain. We were going to be headed for the far end of the fold. A canyon that nestled into the western flank of Kili. It looked safe, but dark and cold in the distance. I wondered what time the sun would appear in the morning in that distant crevass. Soon it would be time to pull out the warm weather gear.

Mom and I

Hunger spurred our descent, lunch was waiting.

Reorganizing, repacking, washing, journaling, a short trek and a stunning view what a great day ... I am ready for the next leg, on to Moir Camp.

1 comment:

JB said...

I guess I hadn’t realized how important it is to be in shape and to allow yourself to acclimatize, but it sounds as though you were in good hands and that your guides knew exactly what they were doing. (Plus, they sing—how cool is that?)

I love the photos you include with this post, too. They’re breathtaking!