Pat's Log
Tue, 16 Oct 2012

Kilimanjaro Day Two, Shira Camp
20121015 It would have been a perfect night, but digestion issues brought me to the toilet a good number of times at night. On the bright side, there was a dazzling display of starlight to keep me entertained on every trip. On the other hand, I wasn't planning on chemical toilet being my best friend this expedition.

Today's hike introduced us to the first taste of iodine-purified river water. It isn't tasty. Adding some CrystalLight effectively hides some of the flavour, but not the smell.

We climbed from 3000m to 3850m or so, during the morning. The distance was about 7km. At this altitude, mild effects of altitude sickness could be felt, and I was somewhat dizzy at times, needing frequent stops.

Along the way, we saw how Zara treats its porters. Porters in the park are allowed two packs for a maximum of 20kg of weight in addition to their backpacks. Some of Zara's were carrying very awkward packs that must have weighed in at 40kg or more. They were slipping and falling all over the place. Some had shoes falling apart, and we couldn't help but feel for these guys. Our company's porters moved swiftly and with relative ease. That's not to say they have an easy job, but there is a definitive difference. Without getting into too many details, it is a social dilemma that needs to be solved over here, and I'm glad we're supporting the good guys.

The vegetation at this altitude has changed from short trees to shrubs, but even the density of the small plants is still quite impressive. Large crows fly overhead. Trees that survive here grow by minimal amounts over entire decades.

The afternoon activity consisted of a short, one hour walk to see interesting lava formations near the Shira camp, where we will be spending the night. There were many interesting photo opportunities here.

When we got back it was decided I have to start taking the heavy-duty antibiotics (CiproXL) to ensure that my summit experience is not hampered. Hopefully, results will be forthcoming.

Tomorrow is a big day. There will be hiking comparable in length to the first day, and a rise in altitude to 4600m+, followed by some descent. The goal is to acclimatize to the higher altitudes. We are to expect shortness of breath, headache, nausea, and maybe even vomiting. Sounds like fun.

[/tanzania] | posted @ 03:55 | link

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