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  • Niki Harry

Conquering Kilimanjaro - Day 2

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

Elevation: Start at 9,170 ft – end at 11,500 ft at Shira 1 Plateau Camp

We were all up by 6:30AM. It was next to impossible to sleep last night as hourly it seemed we were awoken by the zipping and unzipping of tents by everyone needing bathroom breaks. The colubus monkeys went crazy a few times making their weird calls throughout the night, waking most of us up. It was very chilly last night and in the morning, the hot liquids went down nicely!

Breakfast was served at 7:30 sharp. It was a full course breakfast with everything on the menu from porridge, to bacon and eggs, toast, fruit, etc. Alan made us laugh. He brought his HP sauce all the way from Australia and throughout the 9 days, that sauce was brought in by the chef every day for every single meal.. and he put it on EVERYTHING! He even convinced me to put it into my soup one day to try it!

After breakfast every day we had a full medical check. Our oxygen levels and our heart rate were taken. They asked every possible question about what medication we were taking and/or if we remembered to take it (altitude drug Diamox or alternative such as in mine & John’s case – Ghinko Biloba), how we were feeling, nausea, headache, vomiting, etc, even our last bathroom visits! I guess its all very important. Then they would listen to our heart and lungs with a stethoscope. All was noted on our individual sheets twice per day…after breakfast and then after dinner, before bedtime.

After the medical checks, it was time to pack up and get ready for our next day’s worth of adventure.

Then day two group photo.

Hike started at 9AM. We continued our climb through the forest enjoying the beauty of it. But the dust was pretty nasty as with every step we took, the dust would stir and there was no way from stopping it from getting into your nose, ears, mouth and even eyes. A few of us tried wearing bandanas, but then the sunglasses would fog up from the breathing, so eventually that idea was scrapped and we just ate dust.

Jerry found a Chameleon :)

About an hour later we had a rest stop and a snack. The trees were completely moss covered in this area.

Then a couple of hours later we suddenly entered the heath and moorland zone. It happened very quickly, almost as if there was a dividing line. The heather was really tall. It was more like trees then shrubs. It was very warm hiking through here. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses were mandatory.

​At some point, the porters all rushed past us and to our delight when we got to our lunch break, the mess tent was set up! Hot soup & awesome home cooked food was ready when we arrived. No boxed lunch today. We were very surprised and were not expecting this service for lunches.

One happy group!

After lunch we crossed into the Shira Caldera – a high altitude desert plateau, very different from the rain forest. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones and is filled with lava flow from Kibo peak.

If you look real close in the photo below you can see people hiking along the ridge in the distance. It’s hard to understand from a photo just how massive the landscape is.

And I love this photo – Jeff & Jerry trying to get signal with their iPhones… and believe it or not, they did get service on several areas of the mountain! I was peeved because I was told that there wouldn’t be any signal, so not to bother with a phone.

Today we hiked about 8 ½ kms and about 7 ½ hours in total.

We got our first view of the peak just as we were getting to Shira 1 Camp, the clouds were finally clearing! We were all so excited when we finally got our first glimpse!

Then on a very disappointing note, as soon as we got to camp, I immediately developed my first severe headache and it seemed within minutes it was turning into a migraine. John & Deb also had slight headaches and pressure today but everyone else seemed fine. Dinner was served at 6:30pm and by then I had severe nausea and wanted to vomit! I barely got my soup down and to my complete disbelief I couldn’t even take a bite of my favorite meal: pasta Bolognese! I was in a bad way sitting at the dinner table and even started feeling very uncomfortable with restless legs and lower back pressure. My readings had dropped but not significantly, so Eliakim advised that I take two extra strength Tylenols. Not good reacting like this so soon.. only day two and only 11,500 feet! It made me nervous wondering how I would fare in the next few days if it was already this bad.

This evening was amazing, with the cloud formations and the sun going down.

​But as soon as the sun was gone, it became freezing. The stars were so bright and clear and I was so bummed that I didn’t have the energy to stand let alone try and take photos. Plus we did not bring our tripod so it would have been impossible to take the night shots. It was another very early bedtime for everyone. Day two down!

Continue reading about our Day 3 Kilimanjaro hike.

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