The Travelling Trooper Takes on Kilimanjaro: Day 3

It was ten (mostly flat) kilometres to the Shira II campsite. The last three kilometres or so were inclined.

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So far, we’d been pretty fortunate with the rain. Aside from some off and on light showers on the first day and  a short spell of gentle hail on this day, we were pretty dry. We also had our secret weapon against the weather: Gene, our personal weatherman, who always provided a forecast and an explanation for the weather.

After some reading and more Cards Against Humanity, half of us went on an acclimatization walk up another 1, 500 feet. It’ be 1.5 hours roundtrip, tops. I wanted to avoid elevation problems at all costs–especially since Gene and I were the only ones not taking Diamoxin. Danielle also mentioned that she had been talking to another group at the hotel before we left Moshi, and the only person in their group who had trouble with the elevation was the one person who didn’t take Diamoxin. I became even more concerned because I’d gotten a bit of a headache earlier in the day.

Joseph was our leader for this little extracurricular hike. I felt bad that he and Jerome had to accompany us on this walk, though, while the rest of the guides got to hang back and rest or play cards, so I brought along my bag of chocolate Whoppers that I knew he loved. I told him that when we reached the top, there would be chocolate for everybody. His eyes bulged with excitement, and he said, “You brought the chocolate?! Alright, Mr. Chocolate!” I was glad I’d bought those bad boys in Austria before I left Europe.

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The hike itself was fine, aside from the hike back down. I was certainly grateful to have rented those poles, though. Those things were lifesavers. Halfway down, one of my poles started acting up, and Joseph helped me out. While he fixed it, I made him promise that he’d have a Kilimanjaro beer with us when everything was all said and done. He then gave me my pole, flashed his teddy bear smile, turned around, and went skipping merrily down the hill like a kid on his way to the candy store, leaving me behind to precariously calculate exactly where to place each pole and each step so that I didn’t slip and break my face. How he didn’t fall and eat rocks I’ll never know.

I don’t know if it was Mr. Spice’s cooking, the acclimatization walk, or the fact that I upped my water intake from three to five litres that day, but the headache left shortly after dinner.

* Some photos courtesy of the beautiful Kate.

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