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Lemosho Route: Day 2

August 29, 2010

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira One Camp
Estimated Hike time: 5 – 6 hrs
Estimation distance: 12 km
Elevation change: + 950 m
Final Elevation: 3610 m

The temperature really drops at night. The morning  was still chilly so I was bundled up when we left camp in the morning. Not too long into hiking up hills I warmed up and had to put my outer layers into my pack. It was almost bursting at the seam! I was also carrying half a litre more water than yesterday. This resulted in frequent breaks and hard breathing. The first 30-minutes were really frustrating. I am really all leg power. My upper body just couldn’t take the extra weight. After a discussion between David, Mark and I, I relinquished my daypack and started using the walking sticks. I started doing much better. We kept a good pace again passing the large group.

So we left the jungle behind and passed the treeline. We started into the moorland zone. Just large shrubs and flowers accompanied us now. Three hours into the hike I started to feel ill again, just as I had two days ago. I had stopped the Malarone medication yesterday since I didn’t want to have any side effects on the mountain. My nausea must have another cause. Most likely I was suffering an electrolyte imbalance. I have miscalculated my electrolyte intake before during marathon training and this seemed very similar. Eating lunch definitely took the edge off and if I had been resting I would have been fine. Instead I was climbing a mountain, a really big mountain, so my symptoms continued. Thankfully I had packed some gravol. I will start to treat the remainder of the trip like I did marathon training and eat something once an hour. I will even set an alarm.

The scenery was getting quite impressive. As we ate lunch we watched the clouds roll in and out of the valley below. It was breathtaking!  Occasionally they would wash over us leaving a cool and refreshing mist. As we continued after lunch the shrubs got smaller and smaller. We were in true moorland now. The theme for today was hills. We hiked up and down an endless series of hills. After scaling an impressively large incline we would realize that we would have to lose all the altitude we had just gained by descending into a valley and then hiking an even bigger hill. Ironically I started to feel myself again once we reached a large plateau.

Today was tough totalling 6.5 hours of unrelenting slopes. Upon reaching camp we felt as though we were hiking on a mountain, whereas in the forest it seemed like one big hill. Finally we got to see Kilimanjaro in all her glory. There was cloud cover over the peak but much of the ‘base’ was visable. Even though we had been hiking on the base of kili there is a distinct region where the mountain is more steep. It seems impossible to hike to the top of something this high.

We had some time before dinner so we joined the large tour group in their dining tent. It was a real luxury to sit in a high-backed chair at a metal table. They even had portable toilets! What an extra $1500/person will buy you! We found out that this group is made up primarily of Australians and New Zealanders,  who live at home and abroad. We were told about three of their members who accidentally took double of the altitude sickness medication, Diamox. As a result they experienced much of the symptoms they were trying to avoid – nausea, vomiting, headache – as well as some additional symptoms such as numbness in the extremities. The group was diversified but we could tell that most of the group were professionals. It was nice to have the option to go and be social with the large group but have the freedom to hike at our own pace.

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