|Kilimanjaro from the air|
We landed at the Kilimanjaro Airport and after making it through the confusing and chaotic customs area we were greeted by our climbing guide Julius. We drove through the African night towards the town of Arusha and our destination for the night, the Impala Hotel. We drove past many bustling street corners and shops but my mind was focused on one thing and one thing only, the monstrous peak hiding in the darkness.
The evening before the climb was spent packing and unpacking and packing again. Making sure everything was perfect and that everything we needed was ready to go.
The morning was quiet. My uncle and I sat in silence during breakfast, both of us contemplating the journey that lay before us. Returning to our hotel room, we went through our packs one last time. The only thing left to do was my infusion and we would be on our way. I wish I could say that infusion went perfectly and our trip started on a high note, but it didn't. Maybe it was my nervousness that made that infusion so difficult but I missed twice. After the second failed attempt my stress level skyrocketed. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to find a vein myself so I had to rely on my uncle, who had no medical training to infuse me. Luckily the brief instruction by the medical staff on the first leg of our trip paid off and he nailed the vein his first try. With that we were off to tackle the mountain and begin our arduous trek to the summit.
We boarded the bus outside our hotel and began the drive to Machame Gate where our climb would begin. Once aboard and outside town, the epic mountain came into view. The absolutely massive peak stretched across the horizon and the daunting task ahead became clear. The approach to the gate was breathtaking, the flat savannah gave way to hills of banana trees and coffee plantations. The forest lining both sides of the road grew denser and denser. Then suddenly the Machame Gate came into view and the climb began.
|Beginning the journey!|
|Hiking through the cloud forest|
|Resting on Day 2 with the summit in sight|
|Hike towards Shira Cave|
|Epic view of the African plains|
(Part 2 Coming December 15th)