Kilimanjaro Rainforest and Machame Camp
Slept really well! The night sounds were all around and teeming with life. Today's the big day.
After the very familiar trip most of the way back to Moshi, we finally got to the Kilimanjaro Machame gate. This is at an altitude of about 1800m. Sign in, followed by tea. We met a nice girl from Australia, who was originally from Canada. She was going with Zara, along with a group we recognized from Springlands from yesterday.
The climb was a fairly steady incline for 12km. Frequently stops as the Diamox altitude drug made water pass very quickly. It also, at times, created a tingly feeling in the fingers.
Most of the day was in the rainforest. It was cloudy or foggy, and the scenery with the tall trees, vines, and mosses was phenomenal. Small amounts of rain were not much of a hindrance.
At the lunch break it became clear what sets our company apart from the others. The Zara group had been eating their standard-issue box lunch as the crew was setting up our dining table and laying out the stainless steel dishes and platters of food. They had assumed that it was for some kind of distinguished group, and when we came up, we overheard "oh, it's the Canadians." Funny. I expect we'll be hearing that all week. Lunch was great.
We eventually emerged from the rainforest to where the trees were a little less dense, and quickly came to the Machame Camp. There was a ranger's office with sign-in, and a radio playing American Top 40. Even halfway up Kilimanjaro there is no getting away from Ryan Seacrest.
Here, at an altitude of just over 3000m, the camp was already waiting with awesome Mountain Hard Wear tents, including a much larger mess tent. Not much happened next, just an introduction to how the camp works, operating our private chemical toilet, and so on. Dinner was served in the mess tent, and was delicious. Compliments to the chef (Jani) and the camp manager (Norbet) for making that happen, and on proper silverware! Hot drinks were also very welcomed; they just kept coming.
Sleep time now, tomorrow is a much shorter climb, but much earlier start.