Out of Africa: 1
Out of Africa: 2
Out of Africa: 3 – Safari in Lake Manyara
Out of Africa: 4 – Safari in the Serengeti
Out of Africa: 5 – Safari in Ngorongoro Crater
Out of Africa: 6 – Climbing Kilimanjaro
Out of Africa: 8 – Zanzibar
As we hiked, with the summit in sight, from Karanga up to Barafu, we passed some graffiti covered rocks. Normally graffiti makes me angry, but for some reason these messages really spoke to me at that time. I decided to keep walking.
When we arrived at Barafu Camp, we had all afternoon and evening to eat, sleep, and get ready to leave for the summit at midnight. To my surprise, there wasn’t a whole lot of eating going on. Before this hike, I would have sworn that I could eat no matter what, but it turns out that altitude gets the best of my appetite so I just did my best to get some sleep.
Around 11:30, we woke up and began to fill our water bottles, bundle up in layers, and choke down come cookies. Even cookies didn’t seem the least bit appealing. At midnight, after a round of “Happy New Years”, we were off.
We hiked for about six hours in the dark. In retrospect, it was probably best to hike in the dark because we couldn’t see much except for a snakelike trail of headlamps headed up the mountain. It was surreal.
In spite of my layers, got fairly cold on the way up, but each time I needed to add layers I had to have a serious debate with myself about whether it was worth the effort. I felt like such a robot between the lack of sleep, the altitude, and the little food that I had been able to force myself to eat that it was pretty hard to think clearly.
Excuse the bags (mascara residue?) under my eyes. My top layers, most of which you can see, included a wicking t-shirt, my pink Under Armor Cold Gear long sleeve, a blue fleece, black down jacket, black balaclava, and black hat. On the bottom, I wore long underwear, fleece pants, a pair of hiking pants, gaiters, wool socks, and hiking boots. I also wore down mittens because I’m a big wuss who gets cold easily.
Just as the sun came up, the iconic Kilimanjaro sign came into view. All of our group had made it. We were excited, cold, relieved, and super bummed that we had to hike all the way back down the mountain.
Next up: Zanzibar!