Today was a long day but it was the best day so far. We were woken up by Sofi, one of our porters, bringing tea and coffee to our tent. The cloud had lifted and there were clear blue skies outside. The views of Mount Meru were amazing. After breakfast, we made the most of the beautiful weather and stunning backdrop to get some photos of our fantastic team all together and then set off on our longest trek yet.
The walk up to Lava Tower was slow but the weather was good which brought us a new wave of energy and excitement. The landscape got more and more barren as we got higher until there was hardly any plant life at all. We stopped off for a rest/pee break where the path split – on one side was the path up to Lava Tower, on the other was the path that the porters took directly to camp.
As we set off again, heading towards Lava Tower, we passed a large group of people resting. Just above them in the rocks was a man having a poo! He was just squatting there, making no attempt at all to hide himself despite being right next to a huge rock and there being an actual, purpose built, toilet no more than 200m away from him! It was very strange and the worst part was that “Jerry” (that seemed to be what the rest of his group were calling him) was squatting facing the path so, as you walked past, there was no part of Jerry that couldn’t be seen! Anyway, Jerry didn’t seem to care and I think the other members of his group were more embarrassed than he was.
The final climb up to Lava Tower was very slow and fairly tough. I started to feel a little nauseous again but nothing too bad (it might be worth mentioning at this point that we didn’t use any medication throughout our whole trip so please don’t feel like you have to take altitude sickness medication because you don’t – just do what is right for you and be led by your body and your guide).
Matthew took some photos of us at Lava Tower and we stopped for lunch. Our lunch time loo break was “interesting” and I actually opted for a more “al fresco” pee after seeing the state of the toilets.
We then started our descent towards camp. We used our walking poles for the first time at this point and they helped hugely (we also hired these) as they took a lot of pressure off our knees when walking downhill. The path sloped up again before the final drop down into Baranco Camp. The last part of the descent was steep and rocky and quite tough but the nice weather and stunning scenery made it all worthwhile. Baranco Camp is much bigger than the first two as it’s where three of the other routes up Kilimanjaro join together.
Since being at camp, Sean has developed a headache but he still says it’s not bad enough to even take paracetamol. At the moment I feel fine so I think we’re doing ok. The camp itself is stunning with views down to the towns miles below us on one side and breathtaking views of the Western Breach and Arrow Glacier on the other. The Baranco Wall is right in front of our tent. I’m not going to lie, since the day we booked this trip I’ve been dreading the wall and I’m genuinely scarred about tomorrow. Every time I step out of the tent it’s there, staring me in the face.
We reached camp fairly early so finally had chance to dry out our things from days one and two of the climb. We bumped into the Canadian guys too which was nice. They opted for a slightly longer trek than us but from this point on, we’ll be at the same camps each night. We had a chat with them and talked about our highlights so far which was really good for morale (it’s always good to focus on the good things but that’s easier said than done sometimes).
After dinner, we came back to the tent. It’s really quite cold tonight so I’ve had to put extra layers on. I’ve tried to read for a bit but my nerves about the climb tomorrow are making it difficult to focus. That said, I’m very tired from today’s walk so I don’t think sleeping will be a problem.