And so it begins – the trek up the mountain.
First – a shout out to Ava and Clara, and all of you who are following my trek and hopefully donated to Ava Angel’s Fund. This bird’s eye view provides a sense of Mount Kilimanjaro’s size – the tallest mountain on the African continent and highest free-standing mountain in the world. It’s peak is the Uhuru Summit, which stands at 19,341 feet!
The Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on the Kibo crater and was once an active volcano that started erupting about 1 million years ago. The Uhuru peak is the tallest of the three collapsed volcanic cones on Kilimanjaro. The top is a shrinking glacier and disappearing ice field.
Three thoughts today –
- Origin of Kilimanjaro name? Reading suggests two possibilities: Kilma meaning mountain in Swahili and Najaro, which is the KiChagga word meaning whiteness; or, Kilimanjaro is the European pronunciation of a KiChagga phrase meaning “we failed to climb it.”
- I can’t believe I’m here as we made the early drive from Moshi and the Chanya Lodge to the Machame Gate. It’s at the base of the mountain, which is already 6,000 feet above sea level. Climbers register before starting their trek and our crew will follow the Machame Trail, a relatively easy one for the first three days and a little tougher the rest of the way.
- Knowing I’m starting at 6,000 feet feels like a Monopoly win. Remember rolling the dice on that board game and getting to “Go pass Go, and collect $200?” It’s a good way to start not to mention the entourage of porters, guides and cook that will make the trip up with us. The porters carry the tents, food and heavy equipment (like the porta-potty!) up the hill with us. Not exactly glamping but certainly not roughing it either.
More about the Tanzanian team over the course of the trip – hopefully as I make videos. Fingers crossed we have good cell service on the hill or I’ll share texts through my satellite phone and leave the videos to load on the WS site when I’m back home.
The daily numbers:
- • 3030 m/9940 ft – distance up to Machame Hut, the goal for the day.
- 5.5 km/3.5 miles – walking distance going very slowly.
- 5-7 hours – walking time
- 1200 m/3940 ft – altitude gain
Ecozone and terrain:
The first part of the trek will be muddy and slippery. We’ll hit a wall of humidity before the rain comes because Kilimanjaro is just 20 miles south of the Equator.
During the hike we traverse 5 different ecozones over 7 days. This means we’ll go from feeling warm to freezing our you-know-what from the Arctic cold temperatures, which will be-5 to -15 degrees.
The good news is we should reach our campsite by late afternoon. The porters arrive ahead of us and set up our tents. Our team cook will boil drinking and washing water, and prepare dinner.
How I’m feeling and what I love most?
If you are reading this note, my video didn’t go through. Thankfully, Alex our WS tech guru is relaying my text message via satellite.
Messages from Rose via Satellite below:
As we drove to Machame Gate, one of seven entrances to climb Kilimanjaro.
Everyone in the country seems content to wait – whether at the markets or on the roads.
This photo shows the endless stream of vans coming to the entrance with traveler’s and their bags anxiously anticipating a successful climb.