Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb - Climbing to Shira Camp 1 - 11,500 ft

Trip Day 4 - Climb Day 2


Today was our first breakfast on the trail. As I expected, I was going to have to get the majority of my calories from the granola as most everything else was either fruit or mush. The granola turned out to be pretty good stuff and a couple of mornings we had potato leek pancakes which were outstanding. The trail was initially more of the same, pole pole through the forest. It seemed like it took us forever to get out of the forest and above tree line. We crested a pass at about 10,000 ft and shortly thereafter broke for lunch. Today at lunch they broke out these really good cookies that were kind of like pecan sandies. The main item of interest at lunch time was the great duct tape versus mole skin debate. Joanna was complaining of a hot spot on her foot and the debate raged which treatment was appropriate. For the record, duct tape is for hot spots and mole skin is for blisters. Ben sort of combined the two and made a marvelous cocoon looking thing around her big toe which I assumed worked as I heard no more about it.

After lunch we started what looked more like a climb. We followed a ridgeline from the lunch spot up out of the valley we were in and ultimately up onto the Shira Plateau. Keeping with the pole pole philosophy we took an inordinate amount of breaks, but this afforded ample opportunity for picture taking and scenery watching as we were above the trees and started having some good views. It was on the ridgeline that we had our only lost person on the trip that I am aware of. Mara evidently had tired of the breaks as well, and at one point had forged on ahead by herself following along behind another group. Once we figured out she was missing we spent about 5 minutes calling out her name until we spotted her ahead up in the distance. Once we got up the ridge the trail was pretty much flat all the way into Shira Camp 1. Shira Camp 1 is a nice flat spot on the Shira Plateau situated close to a stream for water. We didn't take an optional hike today as it took us a fair amount of time just to get to camp. I took a nice warm sponge bath when we got there and then Ed and I spent a little time relaxing and practicing 2 player card games. Shira Camp 1 was also my first use of the privy. The privy consisted of a 3 sided structure about 5 feet tall, a hole dug in the ground and a stool with a toilet seat on it. Really quite a luxurious accommodation compared to what I'm used to, digging your own hole and then squatting over it. They seemingly went out of their way to point the privy in a scenic direction so that you always had a glorious view while taking care of business. At sunset we were treated to our first really good look at the mountain. Shortly before the sun went down the clouds cleared away from the mountain and we had a great opportunity to see where we were going and get some good pictures. My first thought was that it looked like a long way off and pretty darn high. But then again most mountains do, just not from 11,500 ft. I ate like a pig tonight and still sleeping in shorts and a tee shirt, slept well.

That makes my head hurt just looking at it Lunch time again
A blister already? Not a good omen Climbing up out of the valley we started in
Feeling good, hat flopping in the breeze Mark at Shira Camp 1 - 11,500 ft
Shira Camp 1 Kilimanjaro at sunset from Shira Camp 1

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