After breakfast, our guides introduced the team that would be supporting us during our time on the mountain. This was a support team of 39 people – guides, porters, and cooks. They sang the Mt. Kilimanjaro song to send us off.
porters carry heavy loads for hours
Our hike continued through the rainforest and eventually into a new vegetation zone – the moorlands. Moorlands or moors are areas with stubby plants. It was not as lush as the rainforest but not as sparse as a desert. The path was becoming rockier. I was amazed to see that we were now above the clouds!
taking a break
getting more challenging
a bridge normally meant an incline on the other side
trekking above the clouds
I had no problems during the first part of the trek but about three hours into it, I suddenly felt very hungry. When I found out we were only 45 minutes from our lunch break, I decided to wait instead of dig into my daypack for a snack. Meanwhile, my energy was quickly draining. Even though Traci and I were in our usual position at the back of the group, I was normally ahead of Traci - not anymore. I was now struggling to keep up with her. By the time we got to the lunch area, I could tell I was a sorry sight by the looks of concern on the faces of some of our group members.
We had been given a box lunch when we began the trek. Even though my stomach felt empty, I had no appetite. In fact, I felt nauseous. A guide told me to sit in the shade and put my head down. I eventually regained my composure but not my appetite. I knew that nausea and loss of appetite are symptoms of altitude sickness. I was surprised that I was experiencing them. I thought the Diamox I had been taking was supposed to prevent these symptoms. Anyway, I only managed to get down a quarter of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was in our lunch box.
We continued our trek but it was slow and agonizing for me. The slightest incline seemed to send my heart racing. There were wooden bridges we needed to cross occasionally. I dreaded these the most because I knew there would be an incline on the other side. I took several breaks to catch my breath. I rejected offers from our guides to carry my daypack. I finally relented during the last hour of our 7-hour hike. Doing this did not seem to make much of difference in my pace or the way I felt but I somehow managed to drag myself to our destination for the day – Horombo Hut (12,205 feet).
relieved to reach Horombo after a 7-hour hike
porters delivered our duffle bags
Surprisingly, Traci and I arrived only 15 minutes after the rest of the group. I managed to get down some of my dinner despite my lack of appetite. During the after-dinner briefing from our guides, I kept dosing off. I finally listened to Traci who had been telling me to go back to the hut and rest. The problem was that when we went to dinner, there was daylight. When I left to find our hut, it was dark. I did not have my headlamp with me. I did not even know our hut number. I wandered around in the dark for 5 minutes or so before I decided to return to the mess hall. I was afraid I would not be able to find it either but I did. I was able to follow our hut mates who had headlamps back to our hut. Continue...