Day 2 on Mt Kilimanjaro
December 8, 2012
Today could best be described by the word ARDUOUS. We climbed for nearly 8 hours and the biggest difficulty was the steepness of the trail. We left the rainforest and entered into an ecological zone known as the Heather. The flora and fauna changed from the lush green of yesterday’s rainforest into a much drier and sparser landscape.
The trail seemed to go straight up the mountain – no switchbacks here – and can best be described as strewn with boulders which were mortared to the side of the hill with slippery mud. Avoiding slipping on the mud became my main objective. At some points there was no mud to step on and you simply had to pull your body up over boulder after boulder. It was utterly exhausting. Two of our teens – Emanueli and Irene had no trouble with the steepness or the boulders. They seemed to skip up the hill like mountain goats!
When we finally got to the top of the ridge we still had hours to go up a steep trail though it was more tame than our boulder hopping experience. The landscape changed into interesting rock formations and caves carved out of the sides of the ridges. We had an elevation gain of about 4,000 feet today and ended at 12,600 feet. The temperature has dropped dramatically and by the time we arrived at the Shira Caves Camp it was really cold. We were so happy to be served soup at dinner just to get something warm into our bodies!
Doreen had a really rough day. We could hardly get her to eat anything and after such an arduous day she was completely spent. I am concerned we will have to send her down the mountain tomorrow because it only gets tougher from here.