- Date: June 10th, 2017
- Lemosho Gate to Mti Mkubwa (Forest Camp)
- Elevation: 7600ft to 9100ft (1500ft gain)
- Distance: 3.7 miles
- Hiking Time: 3 hours
- Vegetation Zone: Rainforest
Finally the day we all were preparing for was here. Today, we would start our journey to reach the Roof of Africa, one of the seven summits, Mount Kilimanjaro. Years of dreaming and months of planning was becoming a reality. Dharmesh and I had been patiently waiting to do this hike for a past several years. We wanted to hike this mountain with our sons who now are 12 and 16 years of age and this year we finally thought that they -specially Anuj, our 12 year old have endurance to take this challenge. My family of four along with five other friends landed at Kilimanjaro Airport on June 9th, 2017 with great enthusiasm to climb the mountain. We started our hike the day after on the 10th.
The first day started with a healthy breakfast served by the one and only Mr. Walter at Altezza Lodge in Moshi. Our lead guide Lodrick came to the lodge to pick us up. He also came last night to introduce himself and to brief us about the hike. He did very strict inspection of all of our luggage at that time to ensure that we have enough and proper gears for the next eight days. We liked how he paid attention to all the details.
We packed up and left the lodge around 9am. We passed through a village, from where we picked up some fresh mangos to eat later. The road to Lemosho gate was paved for the first hour and a half, but the later part of the drive was on a bumpy dirt road.
We reached the registration and permit site around 12:30pm. This is where we met our porters and our luggage was weighed and repacked. I liked the strict regulations and weight limits enforced here, as each porter in the national park is limited to carrying 33 pounds up the mountain, which is to protect them from mistreatment. We ate our bagged lunch consisting of a sandwich, potatoes, a samosa and a banana with boxed mango juice while waiting for the formalities. I saved my apple to eat later on the trail.
There was supposed to be a short drive to Lemosho gate from here but we were informed by our guides that the bridge on the way there was broken and we needed to take a detour which took another hour and a half to get to the gate. We reached the gate quite late at around 6pm.
We started our hike passing through the rain forest. It started getting dark half way through the hike. We got our headlamps out and kept walking in the dark. We reached Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite around 8:45pm. Our porters were already there and everything was set up for us. We were greeted with hot beverages at the mess tent. We then got situated into our own tents, changed and gathered back for dinner around 9:30pm. Night started getting a little cold, so we layered up. Piping hot cucumber soup added warmth to the body. We had a scrumptious dinner of salad, pasta, bread and vegetables. Fried fish was there for the carnivores in our group. We then relaxed and chatted a bit with our guides and got to know them a little more. After that, we went back to our tents to get some sleep around 11pm. I was hoping to get a nice sleep but my jet lag woke me up at 2am and kept me wide awake for the rest of the night.