Jan 13, 2014

Kilimanjaro - Shira 2 camp (day 3)

I don't know what the time is, but my digestive system as every morning takes me out of the sleeping bag. Outside everything is covered in frost – the tent, the vegetation, even the dust. I go into the most leaning toilet and while I pull my pants down I wonder if the shitty tower of Shira will fall down, while I am inside. I go out victoriously with my hands up in the air, I hum the Rocky theme song, I turn around me and go to receive the applauds of the just awaken sleeping beauty-machines.
All is frosty

Defrosting 1
Defrosting 2
Good morning

D.C. comes to check whether Ivan and Stan got a good sleep. He starts laughing when we tell him about Ivan's unexpected shortage of sleeping bag. He presumes that the bag belonged to a Chinese or a Japanese guy, but in the end doesn't reveal whose smell was coming from the bags. While we pack our bags and drink tea, our breakfast gets ready. The porridge is again on the table and only Ivan acts as if he likes it. We put some honey in a desperate try to make it taste a bit better. The second part of the breakfast again includes toasts, omelette with vegetables and a sausage.
Kibo is where it is suppose to be

While the crew packs the tents and the other luggage, the rest of the mzungus and their porters leave the camp one by one. We joke that we are going to close down the camp and then leave. One local guy goes to all the nearby tent spots and marks something in the dust with a stick. Then he comes to our spots and I notice that he writes "Zara", which is one of the larger companies. After he moves on I erase the name with my leg and write some obscene word. We share our "act of heroism" with D.C. to which he awards us with his laugh and tells it to the rest of the crew.

Our walk starts with a slight uphill section, the vegetation is low, there are lots of dried out flowers around. We reach another flat field, maybe it's the second floor of Shira's plateau. We pass an American group which started 20 minutes earlier and they greet us with respect in their eyes, for example.
Blossoming herbariums
Shira plateau

After the next uphill we notice a dirt road somewhere in front of us. Soon we cross it and it turns out that it leads to the starting point of Shira route, which is not a very popular one as it starts at 3,600 m/ 11,800 ft and might lead to poor acclimatization. We stop to rest near a wooden toilet and all of us make use of this unexpected and lonely convenience. While we rest one mountain sparrow visits us hoping that something will be left out for him to eat.
Mountain road
Sparrow kilimanjaricus

The heathers have grown again to more than 2 m/6 ft. Two hours from the start we reach a crossroad – one of the paths leads to Shira 2 campsite (that's us) and the other one to Moir Hut, Arrow Glacier, Lava Tower and Barranco camp, which is our destination for tomorrow. The closer we get to Shira 2, the more I feel the insufficiency of oxygen in my lungs and if I go a little bit faster my head starts feeling dizzy. We see some of the strange giant groundsel trees/plants.
Let it be reggae
We still have some energy for some funny poses
Giant groundsel

We split up as I follow my own tempo and D.C. makes me company once again. The last half an hour we are walking in the clouds and I shift to the lowest gear, it's rather hard for me at this point. I have a headache and wonder whether I am going to throw up from the altitude sickness on the third day already.
Where is the coverage

After a total of 3 hours I reach Shira 2 campsite (my friends being here for 5-10 minutes) at about 3,950 m/13,000 ft. The others are looking for mobile coverage, while Ivan signs us in the ledger. We are the first to sign up for today and we left the camp last. The whole campsite is wrapped up by the clouds, you cannot see the next tent. I hope that it is going to clear up till dinner. In an hour we get lunch – french fries, something like small pies with vegetables and a spicy sauerkraut. The gasification later will be quite dangerous. After our quick lunch we go for a rest in the tents.

At 3 o'clock and something we go out to stretch our legs and to look for the elusive mobile coverage at some rocks. In an hour we have tea with popcorn and the planned walk round the camp is cancelled because of the bad weather. After the tea we go to our tent and make something like a farty. We train for the summit day as we fill the tent with anything but oxygen. While we play at some word games the sauerkraut's time has come and we get our eyes filled with tears.
Where is the coverage

Around 7 o'clock the dinner is ready – leek soup and pasta with vegetable stew. We are not fascinated, but stuff ourselves to the rim. We manage to push all of the oxygen from the mess-tent as well. I don't know who's to blame – the thin air or the food. While we drink some tea and Milo Sasho asks us whether we know anything about the Stanley company (the thermo flask) and tells us the whole story from yesterday, being very serious. And we find it very funny. We go out and finally the clouds have cleared out. We can see Kibo perfectly, as well as Arusha in the foot of the mountain and Mt. Meru next to it. While the guys play some game back in the tent I stay out and create some starry masterpieces. After 40 minutes of beauty and cold I join them in the tent and the evening ends with some stupid jokes, which don't seem stupid to us at all, because of the chemical composition of the air inside. A then we are going to sleep here, at least it's warmed up.
Shira 2 camp
Kibo 1
Kibo 2
Kibo 3
A night panorama
Mt. Meru

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