5.62km (3.49mi) distance. Total ascent 778m (2550ft). Camp Elevation 3845m (12620 ft)
Last night was pretty chilly, dropping down to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The skies cleared overnight leaving a sky full of the typically amazing African stars. In the morning, the summit was clearly visible from camp, looking as if it was daring us puny people to climb up to the top. Breakfast was at 7:30, consisting of eggs, fruit, porridge, sausage and toast. We left camp at about 8:00 for a short but intense day. I’m writing this at 12:30 in the afternoon, and we’re already in camp. There was lots of steep uphill climbing before lunch, and then an easy stretch of mostly horizontal trails after.
We’ve completely left the rain forest and the temperatures have been dropping. it’s still very pleasant while we are moving, but stopping for a rest quickly leads to a chill. We’re traveling thru what the guides call the moorlands. It’s short, scrubby brush reminding me a lot of the mountains of New Mexico, without the cactus. There are lots of caves on the neighboring ridges that at one time it was possible to camp in, but the park rangers now forbid that kind of activity. At our campsite where we are to spend the night the hills across the valley from us remind me of photos I’ve seen of the Inca trail leading to Machu Picchu in Peru. I can’t wait till next year to see that for real! Other highlights include great views of Mt. Meru before the clouds rolled in, and some very pretty new variety of impatient type flowers, including one that was shaped exactly like a saxophone.
Physically, I’m feeling quite good. I’ve got my usual hiking case of the sniffles which I’m sure is due to an allergy to some kind of pollen in the area. I’ve noticed that I tend to do this anytime I’m in the outdoors. It’s annoying, but it sure won’t stop me from doing stuff like this! Going uphill is much tougher today than it was yesterday. I’m feeling the first Diamox tingles in my fingertips…it’s a weird sensation that I’ve never had before.
Camp is a flat rocky area that I think would make someone from the Scottish highlands feel right at home. We got into our tents just before the skies opened up with a pretty big downpour that lasted for about two and a half hours. I really felt sorry for those hikers who got stuck hiking thru the rain. Some of the rocks near our campsite look like they’ll get pretty slippery when moist!