Day 2 of our hike started out quite nicely. Our porters woke us up at 6:30 with tea, teacups, sugar, and milk, as well as buckets of hot water for us to wash up with. It’s pretty cold, especially since we are in the clouds, so the hot water is an awesome treat. These guys are the best. Breakfast at 7 consisted of toast, jellies and peanut butter, omelets, pancakes, and fruits. Sidenote – the oranges here are green! We started calling them greens just for fun.
At 8, it was time to head out. The hike was 6 hours today, and we said goodbye to the rainforest after about an hour. The next landscape is alpine – shorter trees and foliage, some very interesting other trees, and grasses. Much drier than below, but still in the clouds all day so no good views of anything yet. We hiked about 4 hours, enjoyed lunch and hot tea courtesy of our crew (seriously – how do they keep this tea hot and carry it around for so long!?), met two nice British girls who terrified us about trying to summit in 5 days, and then were on our merry way to Horombo huts. I’m getting pretty nervous about us making it – after our lunch chat with the British girls, we saw three unconscious people being taken down the mountain in stretchers. The thing with Kili is that you can be in perfect shape (not that we are!) but you can never guess who the altitude will hit. Risks include pulmonary and cerebral edemas – fluid filling the lungs and/or brain.
We got to Horombo, and enjoyed hot water and tea again. The huts were the same as Mandara – four bunks and the camp had a dining hall. After our snack, Nick, Brad and I played bocce ball with our backpacking bocce set (very light so you can carry it easily). Horombo is 12,500 ft above sea level, so we figured a little bit of moving around would help the acclimation process, plus there’s really nothing else to do! The porters enjoyed watching us play this weird game as well. No sight of the mountain still…
At dinner, we met a large group of British students and their chaperones that were climbing in 6 days. They were great – we loved talking with them. Also, dinner just keeps getting better. The other groups have all been jealous of our meals!
We met our first American today. He came up to us, saw Nick wearing a ski cap with the Green Bay Packers logo on it and called him Brett Favre. Interesting…it’s like he missed the fact that that was years ago. Then he grilled us for the price of oil, gas, and stock market info. We had no clue (and asking people who travel for work and rarely get gas is not a good group to ask this question of!)…oh man.
Alright, time for bed. Tomorrow is a big day – hike up to Kibo huts at around 15,000 feet, sleep for a couple of hours, then start our summit at midnight. Perhaps we will see this mountain?? 🙂