This is the Second installation of a series of hikes for the preparation of Mt. Kilimanjaro, hopefully (IA) in February 2017.
By 7am, on Sunday 5th June, we were already on our way to Longonot town. For those who remember my first encounter with this “beast” back in 2015, was a pitiful one. I almost died of grief and self contempt and barely, barely made it to the top.
This time, however, things were much, much different. “Easier”. “Breeze”. “Push-over” is how I caught myself describing my experience of the climb.
In all honestly, I surprised myself. I was really really really proud of self. YAAAYYYYY!!!!
OK, enough bragging.
So, we were a group of four this time round. Ali, Maas, Myself and Lunz. Ali was the first one to make it up the mountain. The rest of us were behind trying yo encourage Maas along. She had it rough. She was like me on my first climb, only luckier to have had people giving her morale not to quit.
After first base, she was in no position to go on. The acclimatization hit her hard and she didn’t feel better until she had to puke. We had the KWS guide with us and he kept encouraging her by telling her, it’s not that far up now. But Baravo! Maas – YOU MADE IT!!!! a whole 3.1Kms, 2,560m ASL!!!
It was a beautiful day for the climb, and I think that because we started it earlier that last time a whole 3 hours earlier), it was not that bad as the sun was not right above us.
We did plan to go round the rim (an extra 7.2Kms, taking us a further 200mtrs above sea level), but Maas was in no state to climb more, so after a lovely picnic on the rim, we started our descent. However, since we had already paid for the trek around the rim, the KWS guide, Paul, was kind enough to suggest a different route down – via the gorge.
I have never been in a gorge, let alone near one. Of course, being the dry season there was nothing but a black cotton soil river bed. But it felt magical.
Especially when we climbed up a steep slope to get to the top, inches away from zebra and heart-beast grazing on the grass. Unfortunately as soon as we broke surface they scampred off to a safe distance, so we coudn’t get clear shots of them.
The entire climb up and down took us just under 3.5 hours. We were a bit slow on the ascent due to Maas’s pace, and the journey down was a little tough on the knees. Although I did make it without slipping this time (poor Maas had a couple of slips down).
I have to say, changing my routine has made a huge difference to my endurance levels. It seems like I am doing things right. I was worried about a repeat incident (where, last time, my metabolism kicked in mid-climb, and I had to use the bush -sorry TMI I know, but stuff like this does happen) but this time round I think having popcorn the day before did the trick and I had nothing to worry about but a bad case of constipation – which is actually great for days like this.
And plus there was the Zinc. I think that gave me more energy and reduced the level of fatigue.
We will be taking a break for Ramadhan, but will start off with more exciting hikes and climbs from July under the banner of “Summit Seekers” (More info coming soon on this).
In the mean time, I’d like to share a beautiful blog that sums up our collective experience of Mt. Longonot. I am looking forward to the next ones in July, and hoping we will grow from 4 to 8 people. Keep it right here for our next adventure!
Check this out: 12 Lessons we realized from Trekking in the Mountains