I've got the sun in my eyes

Kilimanjaro

Day 4: Machame Huts (Stage 1)

Tuesday, 13 Dec 2011

Distance: 12 km
Duration: 6 hours
Altitude reached: 3000 m

Chaotic morning! We had to check out, put our stuffs in the storage, grabbed our rental walking poles (we were so picky that they just gave us brand new ones), ate breakfast etc… And we were late as usual. The bus almost left without us!

The group was finally complete with Charlemagne from Spain (works for UN) whom we met in the bus.

After quite a ride, I think about 40mins or so (with a last minute shopping break where I grabbed a bottle of juice to be used as pee bottle – useful for men!), we arrived at Machame Gate. There was a lot of hustle and bustle going on, porters distributing and packing stuffs. Thinking we were gonna set off immediately, we quickly wore our gaiters and strapped on our day pack but only to be instructed to go register ourselves at the front office. We took a classic picture with the Machame Gate board. [singlepic id=201 w=640 h=480 float=]

Then we waited for quite a while (luckily I used the nice clean toilets twice because upon entering the park, there were only bush toilets). We chatted with everyone a bit and got to know each other better. [singlepic id=204 w=640 h=480 float=]

We also got insulted by a German couple of our new shoes. Anyway, we didn’t only had new shoes, we had new everything! We were truly novice climbers!

Finally, our guide came to get us and we set off. Near the entrance of the park there were still a lot of activities going on. The porters had to weigh the loads they were going to carry on their back as they are only allowed to carry a maximum of 18kg nowadays but man, that’s still heavy! [singlepic id=203 w=640 h=480 float=]

After trotting for about 10mins, Michael told us that we should remove the cover of our walking poles. Hehe, newbies!

We started our journey walking through the rain forest. It was beautiful and enchanting until it started pouring. And pouring. And pouring. We used the rain cover for our backpack and put on the poncho (useful to have!) to protect us from the rain .

We continued walking in the rain for hours. At lunch break, we huddled closely together under the trees and chomped on the lovely lunch box provided (bun, egg, samosa, cake, juice, peanuts). During this time, we realized Alfredo was totally soaked. He forgot to bring his rain gears and the poor guy was shivering. Mr Fudge offered his jacket or poncho but Alfredo couldn’t accept them. In the end, we asked the guides for any extra rain gears which they kindly provided including a whole new set of clothes change for him too. Phew!

The walk was more than 10km and it was really tough for me especially with the rain and cold. At the end, Wilson (our own guide as we are doing the 7 days program instead) offered to carry my backpack for me which I gladly accepted. I still struggled but managed to reach the first camp after a long 6-7 hours. Yeah, happy faces! [singlepic id=200 w=640 h=480 float=]

We got assigned to our tents and found a portable toilet erected next to us. Luxury camping! They gave us some warm water for cleaning (in which I managed to wash my sweat-filled hair too).

Next, was tea and popcorn time then followed by dinner (soup, fried fish, meat sauce, rice). We had to go to our mess tent for all meals. It was always cozy there! [singlepic id=202 w=640 h=480 float=]

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