In the heart of Africa, I found myself standing at the threshold of an awe-inspiring challenge, one that would push the limits of my endurance and determination. This is the story of my incredible expedition to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, a journey that would take me from the lush rainforests to the icy summit of the Roof of Africa.
Join me as I recount the daily updates of this remarkable quest, a journey marked by trials and triumphs, where the true test lay not only in conquering the mountain but also in discovering the depths of my own resolve. Kilimanjaro became more than just a trek; it became a voyage of self-discovery, resilience, and the pursuit of an extraordinary dream.
So, fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, and get ready to embark on this unforgettable adventure with me. Follow my daily updates as I share the highs and lows of my Kilimanjaro expedition, where each step brings me closer to the pinnacle of this majestic mountain.
Day 1: Embracing Kili’s Chill
The adventure of a lifetime was about to begin, and as I stood at the precipice of Machame Base Camp on September 23, 2022, I could feel the crisp embrace of Mount Kilimanjaro. This was the start of a journey that would test my patience, tact, and attention, and open up the secrets of this majestic mountain.
Our trek commenced at 12:45 pm, after completing the necessary paperwork and getting the porters’ approval. As we embarked on this remarkable journey, we were greeted by the sight of playful monkeys just beyond the gate. My fellow hikers couldn’t resist capturing the moment with their cameras.
The initial part of the trail led us through the enchanting Rain Forest, the first climatic zone. Towering trees and their natural arrangement left us in awe, while a cool breeze and soft ground made the early part of the hike seem like a walk in the park.
However, the elevation was deceptively gradual, and around 65% into the hike, I started to struggle with my breath. It was a sign of “acclimatization” to the high altitude, but it didn’t deter my determination.
As we ascended, the vegetation transformed. The once-tall, green trees gradually gave way to a different landscape. The ladies in my group spent most of their time bonding in Spanish, dubbing me the “Lone Walker” as I delved deep into my thoughts.
Surprisingly, we completed the day’s hike ahead of schedule, reaching Machame Camp at 5:45 pm, local time. The camp was dusty, and though I longed for internet access, its absence was a blessing in disguise. The cold, however, was unforgiving, and I shivered despite wearing extra layers.
The tents were ready, and I selected one for myself. Dinner was served in a spacious tent with a long table and chairs. Fried potatoes, beverages, fried chicken, soup, and sauce awaited us. Earlier in the day, I had felt discomfort in my stomach, but I dismissed it as my body adjusting to the altitude.
As the clock struck midnight, the discomfort intensified.
Strangely, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh throughout this ordeal. I wondered if I had developed a laughing disease, but in reality, I was mentally preparing for the challenging days ahead.
Around 2:30 am, I decided to consult my first aid kit, unsure of what to take. After reviewing my medications, I settled on Tylenol and Maalox. I forced myself to sleep and woke up at 5:27 am feeling painfully tired, enduring knee pain and dizziness.
Amidst these trials, the night sky was a breathtaking reminder of nature’s beauty, strewn with stars that seemed to whisper, “Hold on, it’s going to be okay. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward.”
Nearby, some fellow trekkers snored, and a distant cough echoed through the night. As a light sleeper, this posed a challenge. Fear also crept in during those late-night bathroom trips. What if an axe murderer lurked in the shadows?
But morning arrived, and with it, breakfast – a novel experience of trying unfamiliar foods. Picky eating was a luxury I couldn’t afford on this journey.
After dinner the previous night, our blood oxygen levels were recorded, and we received a briefing on day 2’s hike. As the sun cast its first rays upon Mount Kilimanjaro, we were ready to conquer the challenges of the second day, knowing that each step brought us closer to the summit and closer to ourselves.