after waking up around sunrise for breakfast (probably my favorite meal of the day on the mountain) we packed up our gear, and started on our way. we'd be hiking to Shira camp, and while it was a harder day, it was also rumored to be shorter. this is also the first day my poles came out. i had never used anything to climb or hike with before, and at first felt really awkward with them...but as the day wore on, i really appreciated using them for support.
this is also when i got my first indication that perhaps my guide and i were not really on the same page. during all my research, i read and heard about how a guide is full of information, ready to talk to you about the mountain, Tanzanian history, politics, his background, whatever. they were NOT talking about my guide. he had not been rude (yet, at this point) but he spent most of his time walking ahead of me and talking to other guides and porters in Swahili. that's cool, i understand that we didn't really have that much in common, but because of that, i was really looking forward to conversation of some kind. i began to look forward to seeing other hikers on the path...only to discover that they were from other countries that didn't speak english either. hell, i had ever learned a little Swahili! but every time i got mad...i kept climbing. and climbing. all the way up the Shira Plateau, which was really tough. since the elevation changes so much, you really see completely different vegetation every day. we were climbing in the clouds, like thick white clouds, and i loved that feeling. i was at 12,595 feet, higher than airplanes when they let you use your electronic devices again. ; )
so we finally reach camp, but we are not there to stay, much to my dismay.
instead we are doing an acclimatization hike to Shira Caves. i had read the advice to "climb high, sleep low", but i was so beat i wanted to stay in my tent. they insisted i climb.
so i did. reluctantly. and in about 45 minutes, i reached the caves...which i proceeded to go into and sit down. for a good 15 minutes.
then it was time to hike back down. by the time i got back, there were more people at the camp.
i really wanted to roam around, take pics, and say hi to people that would talk to me, but instead, this is what happened, right up until it was time to have my "bath in a bowl" and eat dinner:
(taken from my journal) Tuesday, July 19- it's so beautiful- i'm up in the clouds at 12,600 feet! but it's f'n hard, like "wtf am doing" hard, but then i convince myself (again) that i'm going to do it.
the next Kili blog covers day 3, and altitude sickness kicks in...