A good night’s rest and I have woken up feeling a little better, I think. At least I managed to get some breakfast down and give Gordon his birthday card. We opened the tent to a glorious sunrise….what more could you ask for on your birthday? Or even before that, going for a nighttime comfort break to see the sky aglow with a million stars in the African sky, a sky littered with lights as I have never before experienced.
From Kikelewa Camp, we climbed, our aim of three to four hours of walking and a 750m climb to the next camp. It was brutal on my post-nausea body; we walked upwards. I couldn’t get why the guides weren’t allowing us more rests, as I certainly needed them. But Mussa explained, “It is too cold to stop on summit night, you have to keep going ‘pole,pole’. So this is training.”
I accepted that explanation but it was tough. I worked out the way of reducing this ‘tough’ to a conscious decision to breathe, sip, eat. Every breath was a conscious decision (maybe this was my age, my fitness?) but I definitely had to concentrate on doing what should be natural; every easier step on the trail that meant I didn’t think about breathing resulted in the nausea resurfacing.
After four hours trekking we arrived at camp; it was so much busier than our previous ones where there had only been one or two groups; here there must have been 200 people. It made it noisier, buzzing, but humming with a sense of purpose. Kilimanjaro’s summit rose majestically ahead of us and we knew why we had come.
Rest was brief; a quick lunch and we were up again, climbing 200 m to acclimatize us. For the first time, I felt uneasy about the paths as we rose over a narrow trail onto the ridge beneath the Mawenzi peak. But the effort of my body trying to work on limited oxygen kept those thoughts at bay.
In the evening, the chef had iced a cake for Gordon’s birthday and we shared it around, going to bed happy and acclimatising a little more.
Candles shine bright at Mawenzi Tarn Camp, 4303m