Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tanzania: Day 2 Kilimanjaro-1st Cave to 2nd Cave

1st CAVE CAMP (9,285 ft./ 2,830 m) to 2nd CAVE CAMP (11,300 ft. / 3,450 m)
Walking time: 5 hours

We got our “water for wash” but I had already used the water I had from last night that I filled into my metal water bottle for extra heat in the sleeping bag to brush my teeth and I used the water from my last night’s hot water bottle (which I did not need after the first 5 minutes because I was so overheated in the sleeping bag) to wash my face. How quickly one adapts to one’s environment! So we used the wash water to wash our hair. Laugh if you want but yes, we washed our hair while camping.

We were served a very good breakfast by Ellie.  Hot porridge with lime zest, cornflakes (which Donna felt compelled to eat because no one else was eating it), fruit, eggs - boiled or omelet (Ellie kept calling it womlet so it took us a bit of time to figure out what he meant).
Then we filled up our hydration systems and off we went at about 9:00 am led by Godfrey.

I was walking behind him for quite a while and he has the most interesting way of walking. It’s as if his foot is gliding rather than walking. He doesn't use walking poles but without them, I'd find it harder to navigate some of the rocks. He also doesn't wear gaiters but the rest of us are wearing them because of the tremendous amount of dust. He walks very slowly but it is good practice to pace us for the final ascent. Yesterday Abbi thought we were walking too slowly but the rest of us thought the pace was just right. Any faster with the weight on my back, combined with the elevation and I think we’d find it difficult as the days go by. I can tell by the way Godfrey is walking that he knows what he’s doing and from what I’ve read, it is critical that we listen to the guides who have years of experience as porters and assistant guides before becoming lead guides.

We walked in very dusty conditions crossing some very dry areas and I could clearly see Mawenzi Tarn in the distance. That’s where we are heading and it’ supposed to be quite stunning. From where I was looking, it’s far and very high! And of course there was the ever-present peak of Kili watching over us. We passed the 2nd cave and had about an hour more to the camp.

When we arrived, our porters greeted us with a great and happy song and Chinga prepared a nice, hot lunch which was welcome.

Later I visited another cave close to our camp. Godfrey said that in the past, people used to camp in the caves but KINAPA has since stopped it because climbers used to collect and burn firewood from the mountain to keep warm. We settled into our tents and later had a sweet/salt popcorn and biscuits (which they pronounce “biscoots” and we call cookies).
 Inside our tent
Outside our tent
I was also curious about the “Long drop” toilets so I went to check it out and I was glad that we rented a chemical toilet. I just feel bad for the porter who has to clean it and fetch it from camp to camp.
Long drop toilet
I visited Chinga’s cook tent and saw where he was preparing the most delicious meals that we’ve had so far.

When I came out, there was Godfrey with his transistor radio - complete with a make shift antenna made of tinfoil. Ingenuous! He said he likes to listen to the radio to improve his English which I think is already quite good.

We went to our tents after dinner and Sunita and I were laughing because we were settling in for the night at 7:30pm! I already know it is going to be a long night of disrupted sleep because of the number of times I’ll have to get up and get fully dressed to go pee. That’s not exactly a good way to end today’s post but that’s the reality.


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