Kili Summit in the distance
Aaah! sleep! I finally got a proper night’s sleep last night. Almost 8 hours. It was a Christmas miracle. A synthetic sleeping bag and musty tent somehow procured a better night’s rest than white linens and climate controlled A/C.
We had foot clinic this morning, and got everyone patched up. Folks were in good spirits again. Except for stepping out of my tent funny, and tweaking my back, I felt strong and energetic.
Day 2 is quite rocky and challenging terrain. Ake made the decision to have everyone stay off the bikes, instead of trying to ride any of it. We all stayed together as a group, hiking through the loose and narrow goat paths up to Kikelewa Camp. The trail was up and down (mostly up). It would have been a tough bike, and I think it would have beaten up a lot of the riders, so hiking was definitely a good decision. Most of the first half of the hike was warm and sunny. But today, we finally started to see and feel the type of weather you would expect at altitude. the last few hours of the hike was shrouded in fog and a surreal mist blew across the mountainside. The mist was both beautiful, and eerie.
About midway through, I could see signs of fatigue in some people’s faces and in their gait. The pace was quite slow, but being on our feet for 6-7 hours was taxing. Many of the group had never done anything like this before, and most of them live at altitudes not far above sea level. Steve and I have been suffering from a monstrous case of HAFE. High Altitude Flatulence Expulsion. And when I say suffering, I mean, I’ve been suffering from his, and he’s been suffering from mine. We alternate who walks behind, but sometimes the wind blows the wrong way . . . .
Kikilewa Camp shrouded in fog
Kikelewa Camp is at 12,100′. As we made our final approach toward the camp, we could here singing. The porters and camp workers had all gathered together to sing traditional African songs. They serenaded us as we straggled into camp, and lifted our spirits. These were folks who humped all our gear up the mountain, including bikes, several hours ahead of us. They had camp all set up, and a hot meal on the stove before we were even within eyesight of camp. And then they had the energy to sing for us and cheer us on into our last push into camp. The camp was shrouded in fog, and a cool breeze blew through. Collectively, it was beautiful and inspirational.
Our welcoming party at Camp 2. Singing traditional songs. The little guy in the white jacket (named Tall), led the singing and celebration.
The group is starting to get a few more ailments. Coughs, colds, headaches. Nothing unexpected, but the exertion and altitude are beginning to take their toll. everyone’s oxygen saturation is still 90 or above, and it seems that everyone is still eating and drinking. it only gets harder from here, so I’m trying to be vigilant about checking on everyone’s health. Some are doing great, some less so. Still, not a single complainer among them. This is a good crew on all counts. Feeling really glad to be a part of it all.
Tomorrow, we climb to over 14,000′, and stay there for an extra day to acclimatize.
More to come.
Stuart bonding with the bikes. Bonty at the front.