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Entry 26 // Three Amigos Climb Kilimanjaro

Update by: Nick | February 28th 2011

We made it to meet Timmer 12 hours before we started our climb. Now we had to get packed. Luke and I haven't given any thought to what we would take up the mountain. Timmer advises us on what we needed to bring. Luke and I did our best, but Timmer was much better prepared than we were. We packed up that night even though we were exausted. The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel and loaded up on the bus to be taken to the trailhead. Here goes nothing.
We met the fourth member of our group (Anne Marie) and our guide (Richard) on the bus. After 45 minutes on the bus we were there and ready to begin our climb. In the parking lot a guy came up to Luke and I and convinced us we needed to rent treking poles. He said it's near impossible to climb the mountain without them. We were skeptical, but decided to rent some poles for $5. The first day we knew was suppose to be the easiest. This was great news, Luke and I could really use a relaxing day. The hardest part about day one was dealing with the hecklers on the trail. Yes, there are hecklers on the trail while climbing Kilimanjaro. The first kilometer or two, little kids tried to get us to take a picture of a cameleon they caught. Either that or buy a hat which said Kilimanjaro on it. On the trail we did see some really cool ants. We had seen these ants on TV before and were facinated by them, so it was really fun to see them in person. These ants were in the process of moving their home and had a trail they were transporting their babies on. They had guards set up the whole lenght of the path so no intruders could get through. After two hours of walking we stop to take a lunch break. We were suprised to find we were to eat on the side of a road. Why didn't we take the road up farther to be dropped off? I guess only the porters can use the road. Speaking of porters, these guys were intense. We had porters that apparently carried our food for us and other miscellaneous stuff we didn't know about. They carried so much gear up the hill, on top of their backpacks, they carried a huge bag or basket on their head; and they walked up faster than most of the "climbers".Our first lunch was more than we expected. We had plenty to eat along with a weird fruit that we had no idea what it was. It looked suspicously like boogers and with the same consistency. But boy did it taste good. We found out it was passion fruit.The trail up the mountain was beautiful. It was like hiking through a rain forest.After a short day of hiking (only four hours) we arrived at our first camp. We were excited to find out we got to have tea time in the afternoon. This was going to be a relaxing climb. Tea time also consisted of a plate of popcorn, not too bad.We had a small cabin with four bunks for the night. Finally we could have a good night sleep. We all went to be around 9:00. We woke up around 7:00 and had breakfast around 7:30. Breakfast was amazing. We weren't sure if they were only feeding us this good in the beginning of the trip to fool us. Either way, it was better than the Ramen Noodles I was expecting to eat every meal. We started our climb for the day around 8:00 and it wasn't long before we found a cameleon hiding in the grass. I guess it's a good thing we didn't pay for a picture of the cameleon the kids had.We finally got to see our first view of Kilimanjaro. I decided to call out that it looked like a weak sauce climb. Hopefully, I would eat my words.Of course Luke has to bust out a handstand.Everyone tries to tell you Pole Pole, especially the guides. Pole pole means slowly slowly. Apparently this is the moto of the mountian. We tell Richard the mountain looks weak sauce and decide our new moto is haraka haraka, which means faster faster. This is our guide Richard. It took him awhile to start joking around with us, but he was a really good guide. Maybe the mountain isn't as weak sauce as we thought? Nah! This was a lady who was carried off the mountain on a stretcher. It had a single wheel with suspension so they could get off the mountain as quick as possible.We continue the hike up to the next camp. Today was another easy day, only 12 kilometers.We finish the day with afternoon tea and a another great meal. These guys are feeding us way too well.After dinner we play some cards with Anne Marie. It's always fun to learn new card games. We teach her Euqure and she teaches us 45. Not a bad night.The next day (day 3) was the easiest. It was acclimation day, which meant we did a short hike to a higher elevation with no backpack and down again to our same camp. I guess climbing high and sleeping low helps to avoid getting altitude sickness. We hike up 100 feet to Zebra Rocks and spend the day joking around. One thing that is apparent is that our beards are getting AWESOME. And by awesome I mean horrible. They have to go, but we have a deal. We can't shave until we make it to the summit. We had better make the summit.This is our group for the climb. We couldn't ask for a better group.We also got a sneak peak of the trail that we were going to tackle the next day. It looked really easy.When we got back to camp we did some exploring. We thought we found a cave but it turned out to be a bathroom, we think. We are not sure, but we don't think the porters can use the same bathrooms as the climbers. This cliff and cave was covered in toliet paper and "landmines".The views from camp were beautiful. We spent the rest of the day hanging out and making new friends. We met three nice Danish girls and invited them for tea.The next day was the same routine as normal. Wake up at 7:00, breakfast at 7:30, and start the climb at 8:00.Luke and I are feeling really energetic today. We monster truck up the hill shirtless passing porters left and right, haraka haraka. Finally we put the shirts back on after it cools down from altitude change. The walk was great though. It felt really good to get off the bikes and walk for a bit.We come to some outhouses along the route. Let me tell you, being a guy is awesome. Being able to pee on the side of the trail beats what the girls have to put with along the way. Outhouses in the US might be bad, but the facilities on Kilimanjaro are a lot worse. All they are is a shady shack with a hole in the ground. We decide to just take a picture and move on.By now we can see the next camp in the distance. We can't see anyone else in the group in site. Luke and I have been hauling up the mountain, we didn't let anyone pass us and tried our best to pass all the porters in front. But we still had some time to stage some photos.We arrive at the next camp in no time. We are the fist climbers there and drop off our backpacks and head back down to meet up with our friends. We find them not too far behind and walk back to the camp with them. It's about noon and we sit down for lunch. We are at an elevation of 15,000 ft and it is freezing cold. We start the climb for the summit at 11:00 pm. That ment we had to try to sleep before dinner, wake up and eat and then try to get a few hours of sleep before we start the push for the summit. It was hard to sleep before dinner. None of us really get any sleep. We "wake up" for dinner and have one last hearty meal before we start the climb.We meet up with the three Danish girls again and spend some time talking with them. They have been talking about how cold it is and we notice their sleeping bags aren't very good. Luke, Timmer and I decide to give them our sleeping bags for the rest of the climb. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Let me tell you, you don't realize how good you have it until you lose it. It was freezing that night. Luke managed to find the perfect formula for staying warm in a bad sleeping bag, and Timmer and I resorted to cuddling up next to each other for the night. We all managed to get a few miserable hours of sleep before the climb. 11:00 pm was going to come way too soon.





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