- Slept well, considering the Diamox; only up once during the night. Mary is already struggling with a headache and didn’t sleep at all. We wake up to a coffee bar outside our tent (hot water, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, etc.) and warm water in the bathroom tent “sink.” The Kiliwarriors have impressed thus far. We are calling Luceri (later we learn his nickname is Masta) our “barista” since he is the one who takes care of our coffee in the morning. Despite the fact that all the Kiliwarriors introduced themselves this morning during a fine performance of the Kilimanjaro song, we aren’t going to be remembering many names.
- Breakfast is fabulous: bacon, papaya, campfire toast (there isn’t really a fire on the mountain, but it looks and smells like the real deal), and omelets! Meanwhile, our 25 Kiliwarriors are eating corn porridge with beef sauce. Only Hosea gets to eat the good stuff in our mess tent with us while he runs through our day and checks our pulse ox. This morning Mary wins bragging rights for what proves to be the low resting HR of the trip. Her numbers are 97/50, worthy of a mile-high (former) collegiate athlete.
- We are told that our omelets are made with white-necked raven eggs. I nearly knock over the mess tent getting my camera out when one of these birds walks by outside our tent. (We all feel pretty foolish when we find out three days later that our guides were just messing with us. The white-necked ravens are everywhere on the mountain, but we are eating chicken eggs.)
- Uneventful day of hiking, short but steep. Lunch set-up was fabulous and we even got to take a Mars bar break while we took the daily pic for Facebook. We played a little Euchre, our Utah friends came by to say hi, and we had another fabulous meal for dinner—pumpkin soup, avocado salad, chicken and rice, peas in peanut sauce, etc. We are calling Emmanuel our “stomach engineer.”
|Mars bar time!|
- This won’t be as funny to the rest of the world as it was to our family, but I’m gonna tell it anyway. During dinner, we were discussing music and movies and Shanta. And he says, “do you know who sings Jolene?” With his accent, we didn’t understand what song he said, so he starts singing, “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene…” Do we know Jolene!?!? We may be the only family who could have serenaded Shanta with the entire song right there at the dinner table. So we did. Turns out Dolly Parton is a big favorite in Tanzania, or at least among the Kiliwarriors. We would go on to hear Hosea joyfully butcher the lyrics (“Please don’t take my man because you can”) and Wilbert, another Kiliwarrior guide, do a very passable rendition.
- Amusing last comments on going to sleep: Getting warm, packing, getting warm, brush teeth, bathroom, getting warm, Laura kicked me, bathroom, getting warm.
- Cold this morning, feeling a little nauseous. Try to pick which part of the five-course breakfast sounds most appetizing.
- Hike to Lava Tower for lunch is so pole pole. Although Mary and Laura needing to use the bathroom tent actually had us passing porters as we ended the last stretch in a near-run.
- Climbing Lava Tower was super fun! The closest to real rock climbing that we’ll get on this trip. We also met up with the other Kiliwarriors group who is doing the Western Breach route.
|Almost like professional rock climbers|
- Mary wiped out, necessitating the first use of the first aid kit. Thank goodness we had a doctor on the trip. Actually the most clutch moment was Chade cleaning all the mud off Mary’s new jacket. That was the bigger concern.
- Learned a new phrase today. Twendae sasa = let’s go now. As a trade, Laura taught Shanta some Spanish—que linda! Both of these are repeated multiple times throughout the day as we try to cement them in our brain.
|Que Linda! The giant senecio trees were super cool.|
- Tried washing our hair at camp tonight. Turns out that waterless shampoo doesn’t make you any less wet or any less cold when you have wet hair and you took off all your layers to prevent them from getting shampoo on them. I ruin my nice comb job by promptly stuffing my hat back on my head.
- Macaroni and cheese for dinner!! They have some kind of fabulous local cheese that we’ve been eating, the deliciousness makes up for the risk of eating dairy.
- Our Utah friends came to hang out in the warm mess tent. Theirs is freezing since the rain flaps don’t zip all the way. It’s a bring-your-own-chair kind of deal, but we manage to fit eight people in the tent. The night started with a bunch of drug questions. Diamox dosing clarification, followed by “how do you feel about Ambien?” Dad’s mind was still on the Diamox and he answered, “well, you might wake up with a wet sleeping bag.” They taught us a new card game. I don’t want to brag about winning both hands…who’m I kidding, I love to brag.