Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 2 : Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp

I woke up at 06:00 because I had forgotten to reset my alarm from yesterday but as it turned out, it was just as well because I just made it in time to start walking with the others.  I had brought a filter to pump water through but this proved to be very awkward to manage trying to hold it as well as the bladder from the camelbak at the same time.

I found today quite difficult, it felt like we started off on a steep hill and it just kept on going from there for the whole day.  By lunch time I wasn't feeling so great with a bit of a headache but after some food (cucumber soup with spaghetti) and some water I started feeling much better.  Marita on the other hand was really struggling by lunchtime and just kept on getting worse.  I don't think that it was the altitude, I think she is just exhausted which is not a good place to be on day two.

After lunch the pace just got slower and slower as Marita struggled along until after a while one of the guides took her pack and Simon, Andre and myself took turns to carry Petrie's pack so that he was able to help Marita more easily.  The pace was still very slow but faster with Marita not carrying a pack.

As a result of the really easy pace, I could keep my heart rate very low and it allowed me to take loads of photographs but I'm not sure that any of them will capture the magnificent views which we are experiencing.  Talk also turned to food which I consider to be the first sign of homesickness and both Shirley and myself are determined to get Simons recipe for French onion soup out of him before the end of the hike.

We arrived quite late at Shira 2 Camp and after an hour or twos vascillation, Marita decided to call it quits which meant that Petrie would be abandoning the climb as well.  Marita was a bit emotional as one would expect having come so far and then having to abort.  I wasn't so sure that they were making the correct decision, I think a nights sleep, some food and water and Marita may have felt quite different tomorrow morning but their decision is their decision and I'm not a doctor either.  We all felt quite sorry for Petrie who wasn't struggling at all and was still having to come to terms with abandoning the climb.  I don't think I would have been quite so equanimous if I had been in his boots but be that as it may they started walking to a nearby pickup point at sunset and our party shrank from eight to six people.

That is the top of kilinamjaro in the distance behind the campsite which is a pretty barren place.

For some reason Simon had forgotten to bring a hat and got quite sun burnt while I had a low level dull headache most likely from the altitiude.  Andre crawled into his tent and had a sleep soon after arrival so I think that the day took it out of him as well.

I tried to take some photographs as the sun went down as well as in the moonlight with moderate success but I have taken 200 photographs in two days so I had better start watching out that I don't run out of space on my memory card.

Supper was a little subdued with the departure of Marita and Petrie but the banter and innuendo continued unabated nonetheless.  Arthur also didn't feel too great and had thrown up earlier and I hope that this isn't the beginning of the end for Arthur as well.  This is his second attempt and last time he got to within a few hundred metres of the top before giving up.  Shirley for some reason seems to regard me as the hiking guru when, in fact, it is probably Simon that she should be asking questions of.

Simon really came to the fore today with helping Marita and Pietrie, a kind heart beneath the black desert ninja suit of his exterior.

I really enjoyed having some time on my own sitting still and watching the sun descend over the horizon.  I particularly enjoyed my bath behind a bush away from the camp but I have a feeling that there are no more bushes in any of the other camps so I'll have to make another plan for tomorrow night.

After supper I sat writing up my diary by candlelight and I could see the steam on my breath although it didn't feel that cold.  I wasn't feeling very sleepy but everyone else had already turned in so I followed suite.

The statistics for the day are:
Distance : 5km
Altitude : 960m climbed
kcal : 2918
heartrate : 114 average, 151 maximum
walking time : 7:26 hours

It was really beautiful to see Kilimanjaro towering over us in the moonlight.  I've still go a little bit of a headache but it comes and goes and it's not too bad in any case.  Most of our meals have some onion in it somewhere which has led to an epidemic of "colonic bubbles" as Andre puts it.  His account of try to sneak them out in the thunderhut which is right next to Shirley and Cronje's tent was hilarious.

We saw the two betties again, still struggling on and I want to say manfully but it wouldn't be appropriate so womanly it has to be.

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