Day Three...Leaving Machame Camp

Mount Kilimanjaro Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 5 › view all entries

At the behest of Lynn (BlueMoonAdventure) and a few others, I am trying to get this blog finished. Considering it has been more than two months since the climb, I suppose it’s about time! And I have so many pictures that I uploaded to the computer that are no longer in chronological order…so now I have to organize them and match them to the proper days. That said, some of the photos may be slow in coming.

 

Day three…I was up early, mainly to walk around camp and get some pictures. There were two other groups of climbers at the camp besides ours, and I had the chance to visit with some of them before rejoining my own party for breakfast. Today I remembered to take my Diamox for altitude sickness, just in case! We left Machame Camp sometime around 9ish and began our journey to Shira Camp.

Leaving the rainforest behind, we carry on with a steep ascent walking though moorland, up the steep rocky ridge, and crossing and re-crossing the crest a few times. Here the vegetation clings to what soil it can find on the steep rocky ridge. You pass through clumps of grass and across patches of sand and ash. There were some very interesting plants that I took pictures of, but the most interesting were the Groundsels! Kili should probably be as famous for its dust as its snow. Outside the rain forests and beyond Machame the campsites are on delicate arid soil. The soil is easily blown around in the persistent winds and so very fine dust gets everywhere. As a result it's hard to keep things clean. I was thankful I brought zip lock bags to keep my cameras and other sensitive things in, not just for protection from moisture but from dust, also. Obviously the dust gets into your lungs as well so it's quite common to come down from Kili with a bad cough.

 

Although above the main vegetation line, we did see a herd of eland on the plateau and they sometimes even wander onto ‘The Saddle’  the broad plain separating Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.

Eland are an African antelope. There wasn’t too much of any other animal life to see except for the ever-abundant white necked ravens and a few small birds. Shira Camp was the last stop for the ravens, but a very popular place since they often found food given to them by the climbers.

 

We eventually climbed onto the Shira Plateau and the much welcomed flatter ground! Our group was spreading out today, with the slower climbers several hundred feet behind the people up front. Our porters were continually telling us to slow down even though it seemed we went extremely slowly. But the guides all said "pole pole" (slowly, slowly) in an attempt to slow us down. “Pole pole” is their mantra to clients they think who are going too fast. It is very important to pace yourself, no matter how well fit you are, because it’s also about acclimatizing to the altitude which has a direct influence on your physical abilities.

This is called the Red Hot Poker


Our overnight camp was at Shira (3840m) which is superbly situated overlooking the Shira Plateau with Kibo Peak towering above. It took us about 5 hours of walking to get there, plus the extra time we took to visit the Shira cave, and our lunch break at Picnic Rock.

 

The porters once again set up camp and began making supper. It was about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so we had some time to explore the area and take pictures before the sun went down. It actually wasn’t too cold during the day, but nightfall dropped the temperatures down well below freezing. It was definitely time to start bringing out the warmer clothes.

Shira offered some amazing views of Uhuru and Meru peaks. And it was funny how it would be clear one minute and then foggy the next as the clouds would roll through.

 

BlueMoonAdventure says:
Dude, you finished the blog?! I've been off TB for a few days. Congrats! And you gave me honorable mention for bugging you...wow, I'm famous. :-) OK, I gotta go read this now...
Posted on: Nov 14, 2008
derekbilldaly says:
I hope to do this next June, its great to read your blog and see how you did it. I know it was a few months ago but congratulations on reaching the summit anyways!
Posted on: Nov 13, 2008
LelaLovesLife says:
Whatever the opposite of "pole pole" is...that's what the porters would be saying to me! :~)
Posted on: Nov 12, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
This is called the Red Hot Poker
This is called the Red Hot Poker
Groundsels
Groundsels
One of the Groundsels
One of the Groundsels
These are Lobelias
These are Lobelias
A big Lobelia
A big Lobelia
Peak Meru in the distance
Peak Meru in the distance
Some sort of thistle
Some sort of thistle
Some of the porters
Some of the porters
And the clouds roll through...
And the clouds roll through...
Breakfast in bed!
Breakfast in bed!
Leaving Machame Camp
Leaving Machame Camp
The lovely restrooms!
The lovely restrooms!
Shira cave
Shira cave
Inside Shira cave
Inside Shira cave
White Neck Raven
White Neck Raven
Here is a piece of my toast...now …
Here is a piece of my toast...now…
I took this photo and the next one…
I took this photo and the next on…
Just minutes later and the photo a…
Just minutes later and the photo …
Mount Kilimanjaro
photo by: pearcetoyou