Yes it should have been a good night's sleep, but how could one be expected to sleep with the excited chatter of porters, guides, and other campers that joined us in the night. This camp site was busy with at least 2 other tour groups and their team of porters and guides.
6:00am: Leopold and Andrew gave us an early morning wake up call, serving us with hot drinks and later on bowls of hot water. Breakfast would be served by 6:30am and we had to ready by 7am for a 6-7hr walk to Shira 1 camp site. This would be a routine that would be repeated every morning, and every morning I would wish to stay in bed longer, however Jess would get up when the bowls of hot water arrived for us to have a wash. Then in military fashion, she would be up, dressed and packed. I on the otherhand tended to have "stuff" out and was a little slower in packing up. This morning, Jess was getting a little worked up pushing her sleeping bag back into its stuff bag. I listened to her struggle for a while before finally deciding it was time to drag myself up from bed and help her shove her sleeping bag into its bag.
Mornings - are my least favourite part of the day especially if I've not slept well. However the group were in a chirpy positive mood and thus would force me to be in a better frame of mind. I was not terribly hungry but made myself drink a cup of cocoa, eat 2 pieces of dry bread, and watched the rest of the group merrily enjoy breakfast.
Mti Mkubwa camp (2750m) - Shira 1 camp (3850m)
07:30am: We were slow to be ready and some of the group had not completed their packing. Porters were waiting to pack up our tents so that they could run to the next campsite. I again tried to take Amani the tyre, but Jess seized her opportunity, wanting to do her part now, in case she did not feel up to it later on. Uncle Pete gave Jess a pulling strap to tow Amani, but Jess was happy carrying him. On the otherhand, my soul sister Aunty Tess was not happy that everyone was carrying the tyre. Back in the UK, we had discussed that multiple people would pull the tyre together up the mountain and thus the strap line on the tyre "Pulling together for Peace". But this was not practical given the narrow paths and the group wanted to help take the tyre up the mountain, just not in the idealistic manner that we had perceived. Tess and I are masochistic and we would have dragged that tyre all the way up the mountain. But Amani knew he was special and would convince others to carry him.
I soon dropped behind the rest of the group to "look at scenery" but kept up with Anne and Jackie. Having to do nature's call often from trying to drink 2 litres of water, meant that I observed a lot of scenery. I also observed a lot of toilet paper and wished tourists were made to be more responsible. The American nature parks have a saying "Pack out what you pack in and leave no trace". That includes toilet paper being "packed out" of the parks with images of animals getting wrapped up in the debris. It would be good if Kilimanjaro adopted the same stance.
My head was feeling heavy and the sky seemed to reflect the feeling in my head. Black clouds loomed above us and soon rain began to fall. First gently and then poured out of the sky. Soon the path ways became rivers and our gaiters and rain proof boots would not hold out the flooding plains. Despite the pouring rain James and Raymond steadfastly continued to look after Jackie. Anne and myself found ourselves moving a little faster, but then slowed again to allow Jackie to catch up. As we approached Shira 1, the rain slowly petered out and we arrived with very wet feet.
Aclimitisation, Oms and Peace Messages
The late afternoon smiled again and the waters were quickly sucked into the thirsty soil. Thus we (minus Aunty Tess who needed to prepare the peace messages) had great weather to do an aclimitisation walk up a hundred metres, complete with 6 rounds of "Oms" (a meditational sound). Admitedly there were some of us who could not maintain the statis of allowing our minds freedom with the single sound of an Om (me included). Between fits of giggles we would complete our Oms and do a couple more when joined by Jackie and Anne. However the Oms did its job, and the group went back down to camp for dinner looking more refreshed than when they had started.
Dinner - again I struggled to eat anything substantial. My head was tired and would welcome an early night for sleep, however tonight we (minus Jacob and Gideon) would read the first offerings of peace messages, joined by Felix and Sakimba. The messages were mostly written by children, and was a real insight into what concerns schools have higlighted to children Most were about global warming and war. After about 200 messsages we called it a night.....and what a great night it was, to see the sky lit up with millions of fairy light. Normally I would just watch the sky for shooting stars, but my head told me it would be sensible to go to bed and watch for shooting stars on another night.
The next write up will be on Wednesday 26th October