Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kilimanjaro 2010 Day One Afternoon

So we got settled into the rythm for a couple hours, watching the porters walk a bit faster than us, balancing their loads on their heads, many with backpacks of various sizes and condition. Most of them had the oddest footwear. A lot of soccer-like casual shoes. The shoes and much of their clothing comes from charities in Germany. It's all they can afford, though many of the climbers (later discovered primarily women - hence a lot of pastels) give away their gear at the end of the climb.

I really wasn't sure what to expect, but it's a "trek" not a climb, so typical mountaineering schedules were not adhered to. We stopped once for lunch at noon and opened our box lunches prepared at the Springlands Hotel and weighing in at around 4 pounds.

Fried chicken leg and fried meat pie (their cows and chickens are very scrawny compared to ours) a hard-boiled egg (yolk very white, since their chickens don't get the minerals ours do to make very yellow egg yolks), an orange (green and very fibrous), a juice box of mango juice, and some kind of pound style cake. Note the bag of peanuts. Very heavy food. Took about an hour eating.

Then we went up the trail and it started raining so we got into our rain gear and continued on through the jungle canopy along the muddy trail to Machame Camp.

At the camp, we registered with the rangers and found our tents set up in the mud. We climbed in to get our gear spread out, got a small shared basin of warm water and soap to wash up in, found the mess tent and ate. Some nights they prepared a small bowl of hot peanuts and a large tray of popcorn.

Can't remember our evening meal, but most of our tent meals were three courses. They bring us hot water (which I normally first prepared as hot emergenC - learned to like that on Rainier a couple years ago). Then to hydrate after the meal had Milo, with a lot of hyperbole on the label, but it's just chocolate milk mix. We had various thin soups, toast with cheese, or chapatis, or fruit or sausages or chicken or beef strips. Lots of different things. Interesting combination, and the sauces on the side.

I'm allergic to peanut products, which I did mention about a dozen times to "Lydiah" at Zara, who reassured me each time that she had explained it to the cook, and that he understood, and had dealt with cases like mine before, and I was hoping that the lunch thing was just some form of screwup, since the box lunches were put together for all of us in huge piles the guides grabbed on the way out the door at Springlands.

Being near the equator, the days and nights are about even, so with the sun setting around 7 PM we settled into our tents after dinner to sleep.