Day 4: Mountain Day 2March 9, 2011 in Tanzania
Machame Hut, 2980m ASL
Awoke to a sunny day with the snow-capped peaks of Kili looming above us. It had been a pretty retless night thanks to jetlag, coldness and rocky ground under our tent. The book had said today was fairly short but with a lot of climbing; though Hasani our guide warned that it would be tough, rocky and steep. He was right!
The day's hike was up a long ridgeline above Machame camp, ending about 9km away at Shira Hut. As Hasani had promised, it was very tough and slow going. Lots of climbing. The forest was gradually thinning out into an alpine scrubland, and the lack of tall trees meant fantastic views of the valleys either side of our ridgeline, and across to Mount Meru (the second-tallest mountain in Africa, after Kilimanjaro).
The constant rocky inclines took a toll on my knee, and before long the inner tendon in my right knee was aching every time I went up a step. Eventually the ridge joined a high plateau and we reached Shira Camp at about 1:30pm. Had a hot lunch of pasta and stew before relaxing in our tent for a few hours. In the late afternoon we did a short acclimatisation hike to the Shira weather station with Sarka and Tom.
The usual afternoon mist on the peak was lifting so we got a bunch of good photos and headed back.
Shira Camp was very dusty and everyone had a pretty good case of "festival nose". The temperature was noticeably colder here due to the higher elevation, and the wind was quite chilly. As much as we wanted to socialise with the others, it was simply too cold and windy, so we ate our 3-course dinner and went to bed around 8pm. Just after dusk the mist and clouds lifted, giving us more spectacular views of the peak. Took a few pretty cool time lapse photos, even saw a satellite and a shooting star! Didn't capture either though, sadly.Read more