KILIMANJARO DAY 3: I assimilate to new places and people with confidence

First view Kilimanjaro

The altitude medicine always created an urgency for the restroom. Middle of the night, first thing in the morning, mid hike, sudden urgency (to be totally honest, I’ve always been a pee-er……often and anywhere, so this addition of the altitude medicine didn’t alter my normal restroom adventures too much)! It was after another quick beeline from the tent to the toilet when the first view of Kilimanjaro was evident.

It stood tall amidst the lingering flatness of the plateau. Clouds hovered at the base. There was an excitement around the tents, after arriving in Africa 4 days earlier, this was the first time anyone had seen the mountain. Overcast days had prevented any chance of earlier viewings. There it was, the ultimate goal, but still far enough away to feel a slight disconnect. A long few days of trekking lay ahead before the summit day.

Shira camp to Moir Camp

After another delightful coffee and breakfast, trekking began. We started the day with a full exploration the Shira plateau. The landscape was open and vast, shrubs and rocks lining the ground. Crossing the plateau was long, but very gradual in elevation. A nice change from the arduous incline the day before. A slight breeze kept the body from overheating while the sun grew in intensity.

The hike was slow and long, 8.7 miles from Shira to Moir. We traversed the plateau and climbed around giant rock formations, arriving at camp that was nestled in a gorge at the end of a doormat lava flow. Giant rock walls provided protection from the bustling wind, allowing the sun to warm our tired, and newly blistered bodies (It was just me who got a quarter size blister on my right heel, after a bit of moleskin, it gave no hinderances for the remainder of the trip).

Lunch, nap, and a bonus hike

A meal, a nap……and then another hike. Just a few hours of a ‘bonus’ acclimatization hike to see how our bodies responded to a higher elevation. Spirits were low as we began the second hike of the day. Feeling a bit rallied by the sun, wind, and dirt; and craving full relaxation, irritably, we gathered for the second adventure. We left day packs behind, just hauling water, we ascended to “mini Kili”, a tower that gave views the entire plateau below. The mini summit offered vista rewards in every direction: Kilimanjaro, basecamp, Kenya, and the entire plateau we covered previously in the day. As we stood on top, our confidence also grew. Even through exhaustion and irritability, we could do hard things. We could assimilate to new experiences and people with confidence. We could push through the challenges, and feel hope in the struggles that lie ahead.

Descend to dinner

The trip down went quick, and all were eager for dinner and bed. Spirits had risen, we had tackled another towards the summit of Kili. Our bodies and spirits had pushed and we had been successful.

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