Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week 8 - day 2 of BZ adventure

Sunday, February 16

Hiking time: 8 hours
Total distance: 18 km
Starting attitude: 1490m
Final altitude: 2980m
Habitat: montane (rain forest) very rainy forest

We had to be up at 6:30am to be down for breakfast at 7:30 with our 3 bags. We ate a ton of the buffet stuff as we didn't know how the food would be on the mountain. Trucks were packed and we were all in the van at 9:30, quick stop at the grocery store for chocolate (porters recommended it so it must have been ok).

We drove up Arusha road to the Machame road and then 18km to the Machame gates. The drive was beautiful through rural Moshi with so many people coming home from church. We stop for meat at a local butcher who chopped it in front of us - bit overwhelming to see actually.

When we arrived at the gates we had to register our names and passports, got a wonderful box lunch of chicken, cupcake, juice, crepe, and a banana.

We waited and waited while the CEO (chief experience officers) hired porters (our Sherpas) and get all the food, equipment and bags ready. Took till noon and everyone was getting pretty twitchy to get going as about 100 climbers were there coming and going before us.
Once we got the ok, we we're off up the trail.

I'm not going to lie, the next 7 hours and 18km, yes, 18km were the hardest hours of my life. Pure up hill, rocky, pouring rain, busy with porters in flip flops passing you and I of course got overheated and needed to rest constantly. A guide; Joseph walked with me and taught me the pole pole (pronounced polee polee) meaning slowly slowly in Swahili and with my upset stomach, profuse sweating and multi stops, I was last and we arrived in camp almost in the dark.

Our tent was set up and we were introduced to our personal porter for our living quarters; Renodo, he was wonderful and got me a chair and water for washing.  I needed to lie down, changed out of soaking clothes, and took some Advil stat. After 20 minuted or so I had to get to the mess tent where they had hot chocolate, tea, and popcorn, I only drank the hot chocolate as I was so nauseous.

Dinner was served and it was hot cucumber soup, spaghetti with both meat and vegetable sauces to chose from. They had bananas for dessert. I only ate a bit of soup and just noodles.

I had not peed all day (totally dehydrated and didn't want to "leave a message in the jungle" so I hit the outhouse here at camp - the most disgusting thing I have ever seen so I will not discuss any further.
We had a brief meeting about tomorrow's agenda with the CEOs and literally all went to bed at 8:00 after purifying our water. We have a short day tomorrow only 9km but steeper than today. I had many many serious doubts today and used all my mental strategies today for the very difficult 18km. I will try harder tomorrow.

So far no one in the group has any altitude sickness symptoms here at almost 3000m.