Day 3 - Kikelewa Caves to Mawenzi Tarn 4,330m
Trip Start Feb 15, 2008
9Trip End Feb 25, 2008
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We are up at sunrise again today and the views of Kili are spectacular. Thankfully I've managed to get some sleep during the night and feel refreshed and not suffering from the altitude at all.
Breakfast is the same as yesterday - and the porridge is still awful!
We head off around 8:30am and the walking is thankfully not too difficult. We only have to walk for about 4 or 5 hours today. The vegetation is really starting to thin out now we can now see just how many other people are doing the same trek as us. There seems to be an endless stream of hikers and porters heading out from the camp, and Rongai is meant to be the 'quiet' route!!
We continue walking and soon majestic Mawenzi comes into view. Mawenzi is one of the 3 peaks on Kilimanjaro. Looking at it, I start to worry about exactly how high we are going today as it looks very high! By this point it really feels like we've gained some altitude, and in fact we are now above the cloudline. The views are spectacular.
Right throughout the morning I have been feeling pretty good, but as we get closer to camp I start to feel sick again - waves of nausea wash over me and my head feels like a pressure can. I drop to the back of the group and by the time we arrive at Mawenzi Tarn feel downright awful. Most of the group appear to be ok so I start to worry if altitude sickness is going to get the better of me.
I collapse into my tent, but after only a few minutes we are called to lunch. When I first sit down at the table, my head feels like its going to explode, but after 5 minutes or so, it begins to subside. Lunch is soup and bread, followed by some a strange combination of some fried meatball things, chips and cheese - we dont mind though as its all delicious and we are starving.
After lunch we're allowed to rest for a while in our tents before we head off on an acclimatisation walk. Each day we are supposed to 'climb high and sleep low' to help our bodies get used to the altitude. Its the last thing I feel like doing but know it needs to be done and will ultimately make me feel better.
The campsite is actually very beautiful. Impressive Mawenzi looms above us and the campsite is positioned by a small lake (tarn). Its quite disturbing watching the porters drawing water from the lake knowing that's what will be going into our water bottles later, but I tell myself it must be ok as countless groups before us have done the same.
Dinner is the usual soup and bread, followed by spaghetti with beans and pancakes for dessert. I try to eat as much as I can as it seems to make me feel better.
I fall asleep at about 8pm, only to wake up a few hours later dying to pee. Its absolutely freezing outside and blowing a gale so I have to put all my clothes on including down jacket, gloves and beenie just to make the walk to the long-drops. Its nearly a full moon outside so the campsite is kinda eerie in the moonlight.
When I get back to my tent I manage to sleep right through the night without incident.
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Where I stayed
Mawenzi Tarn Camp