Kilimanjaro Diary: Day Two

1:21 PM

It’s so cold. Well to me that is, God has blessed me with a body that hates the cold even in Oman but I still like to put myself in these situations. Compared to Antarctica this cold is absolutely nothing but in all honesty back in the South, the weather was predictable in a sense that there was no rain; it was either just too windy or stable and you were literally dry all of the time. Over here on the other hand things are just chaotic, one minute it’s raining, the other it’s windy, the next the sun is out. But then life is an adventure who am I to complain about Mother Nature? It’s beautiful the way it is.

The entire team all set and ready before heading out to Machame Gate
The day started pretty early with a heavy breakfast at Planet Lodge, I was ready and packed everything for the trip the night before. Good thing is we left our trolley suitcases with clothes for after the trip at the hotel for safekeeping until our return. Once we were done with our breakfast and gear check, off we headed to Machame Gate standing at 1800m above sea level; a two hour long journey from Arusha. The ride to Machame seemed familiar, the outdoors, the trees, the greenery reminded me of Salalah during the Khareef season, it felt like a little piece of home was accompanying me everywhere I looked.

Registration and waiting area before kickoff!
Offloading from the bus and you are greeted by masses of native porters, guides, trekkers from different walks of life and not to forget the huge mass of pushy souvenir sellers. We were 10 in total but with a huge supporting crew we were a total of around 70 people if not more who were already on the trail the moment they picked up our bags. Now here I was told by one of the members that it will rain so it would be best if everyone wore their waterproof gear before heading out to the trail. Biggest mistake ever! My waterproof clothing was practically the same that I took to the Antarctic and they had an insulating layer which I totally forgot about. Come 15 minutes into the trek and I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to stop and literally remove all the waterproof layers and just remain in the same basic clothing I had on from the beginning. Luckily it didn’t rain while we were on the trail. So I was on the safe side and remained dry minus the sweat.  

All ready and set with all my insulating waterproof clothing
Back to the bag they go! 
The forest clouded quickly and swallowed us up as we kickstarted our first trek of the challenge, which was according to the guides a 7 hour trek to our camp for the night; Machame Hut standing at 3000m. This was probably my favorite day of the trek simply because of the group chemistry; I was with a group who were quite laid back and hilariously funny that the hours went by without feeling exhausted or tiresome. The landscape featured beautiful colossal green trees, covered with clinging vines and moss which made you feel secluded and that you and your crew were the only ones there despite a few meters ahead, masses of other people were taking on the same journey as you.  Usually in all my crazy adventures, reality doesn’t sink in my head until when I am in the middle of doing it and this was the same, after gaining height, my heavy backpack settling on my back and just enjoying what nature had to offer, we reached Machame Hut during sunset with the peak of Kili standing tall and basked in hues of oranges, reds and yellows. That was when the idea of what I was doing in my head finally took its rightful place in my mind’s crown. I was on my way to raise my country’s flag at the highest point of Africa, Uhuru Peak at 5895m!

While breaking for lunch! 
What trek would it be without a selfie right?!
Still a long way to go but my God look at its beauty; out of this world! 
Machame Camp spreads out over a huge area of forest, with each group and crew claiming their own clearing and spot which made it feel pleasant and not a crowded mess. It was finally time to taste camping Kilimanjaro style. Our sleeping, toilet and mess tents were all pitched by our smiling porters by the time we arrived. I am secretly glad that I didn’t have to share my tent with anyone else as I tend to like to be alone in my sleeping quarters to read and just chill on my own. Entering my tent and I prepared my sleeping bag, cleaned myself off with what I could; using the warm basin of water that was already placed on the entrance of my tent by the lovely crew. A quick change from the sweaty clothes and off we were inside the mess tent that greeted us with the luring smell of freshly popped buttery popcorn and hot drinks that awaited us.  

Mess Tent where we had all our nom noms

Our toilet for the coming week! 
Dinner was served at 19:00 hrs in the mess tent, a huge REI Tent, which was fully kitted out with tables, chairs and believe it or not table flowers. The menu blew me away, it had everything from starters to cucumber soup to potatoes and meat followed by fresh fruit and hot drinks; mouth-watering and scrumptious that I have vowed to always have delicious soup from now on.

Dinner is served

Sleeping in a sleeping bag is not really a thing I enjoy, I discovered this back in Antarctica when I realized that I got claustrophobic in one but with the exhaustion of the trek, sleep came easily. Well until it started raining like crazy that the bottom of my tent ended up wet and soaking up my backpacks and sleeping bag. It was a relaxing sleep despite the circumstances nevertheless.

Day 3 of our Kilimanjaro Adventure awaits and I can hardly wait!

Special credits go to Faisal Al Abri, Abdullah Al Jufaili and Mohammed Al Touqi for some of the pictures posted in this entry. These guys were awesome in taking loads of more pictures than I did throughout the trip!

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