Kilimanjaro Diary: A lovely long walk to the Lava Tower

Shira Two: Camps are now getting cold
Shira Two: Camps are now getting cold

After my diary entry yesterday, Jeremy W took a turn for the worse and the doc has given him a full medicine cabinet- something like 9 tablets in total. It was difficult to see such a close friend in trouble like that – but he improved overnight.

And overnight was much more mild, with a beautiful starlit sky and distant city lights. It was impossible to capture the views with a camera or words. We stood outside in awe.

At breakfast this morning, we had the most wonderful hash browns with lots of pepper in them.

Before breakfast I borrowed Matt’s tefillin. We all need some spiritual help, and today I received bucket loads. I certainly wasn’t flavour of the month with my group though – I had managed to sleep for ten hours last night and others had struggled for half that. I think half of it is luck and half being organised for the morning.

Today’s walk began with a long uphill stretch. Within 30 minutes we’d taken layers off, and I was down to shorts. At this attitude the sun is extremely strong so we need lots of suntan lotion. I thought I had applied enough and regularly but one part of my leg is burnt.

The mood for several hours was excellent. We sang every song we knew the words to and the banter was flying. I had an extra morale boost when I received a text from Mayrav (my wife). I cannot explain how fantastic it felt and it has lasted all day.

We continued walking higher and higher to the lava tower at 4,600 metres.

Aron earnt his number-two-in-the-wild Scout badge today on the way to the tower (he asked me to write that).

Some of the group began to struggle with some distance to go, and by the time they arrived at the mess tent at the tower they looked terrible. We had been warned that “normal” effects of such attitude was severe headaches and nausea. Somehow I didn’t have any symptoms at all – in fact I walked quickly for a while and didn’t feel even breathless.

Lunch was a lovely soup and made even the sickest people feel better.

Straight after lunch some of us started creating video messages for people at home.

One of the guides has started calling me Chuck Norris because apparently I look like him. The rest of the group found this amusing. The group have started calling me “battery”, based on my ten-hour sleeps and the excess energy during the day.

We walked down from the tower in two hours – Grant, Jeremy W and I with a single porter. We walked at a steady pace and watched the landscape changing from rocks to vegetation to amazing fauna – it became picturesque as we entered camp. And facing camp was the Barranco Wall- a sheer cliff which we’ll be scrambling tomorrow.

As we entered camp I started feeling a headache and took two paracetamols for the rest first time in three days. I have been very fortunate compared to the others.

I set up the tent, had a full wash and sat down for a hot chocolate to write this diary. The others started to arrive between 30 and 75 minutes later so camp was quiet and peaceful. I find this regular evening routine of unpacking my kit, washing and writing the diary helps mentally.

It now rains buckets for a couple of hours each night and the routine of preparing beforehand helps so much.

I feel good. I feel great. I’ve stopped worrying about anything in particular like I had been at the start of the week. Bring it on.

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