Day 1 on Mt Kilimanjaro

December 7, 2012

Hiking through the Kilimanjaro rain forestIt was a long day of hiking through the rain forest today. We started out at the Machame Gate entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park at approximately a 6000 foot elevation. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and the overhang of the rainforest kept the temperatures pleasantly mild and shielded us from the sun as we walked. We hiked for over 12 miles winding our way higher and higher – making me wish I had spent more time on the stairmaster at the gym – since it felt like we climbed stairs all day long!

Later in the afternoon the rainforest lived up to its name and a gentle drizzle began falling. The scenery was lush with ferns and an array of plants, trees and mountain wildflowers. Several varieties of the flower family known as Impatiens grow here – with a special one called the Impatiens Kilimanjaro -which has a delicate orange blossom -that grows nowhere else in the world. We came a cross a beautiful waterfall along the way and the whole rainforest had such beauty that it made one think of the Garden of Eden!

Our three teens from Treasures of Africa were amazing troopers. I am sure Emanueli could have run up the trail and back a few times over but hung back with us “older folk” just to be sweet. Irene proved that her athleticism served her well as she was in the front of the group the entire day and often quite far ahead of everyone. We would often find her sitting on a rock waiting for us to catch up! Only Doreen struggled a bit – feeling nauseous and even getting sick at one point. Not sure if it is the altitude change or the altitude medication- which has been known to have that side effect. We will watch her closely tomorrow so please pray for her. She does not want to turn back.

When we arrived at our camp for the night, darkness was already falling. Our climb company porters had our tents set up when we arrived and a dining tent ready and a hot meal being prepared. We ate like starving people! The temperatures dropped quite dramatically after dark, and we all were ready to climb into warm sleeping bags after dinner and our cleanup.

Tomorrow we will rise at 6 am and prepare for a steep climb up to the area called the Shira Caves. The whole camp is quiet now and it is time for me to turn in. More from Mt Kilimanjaro tomorrow!

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