- Date: June 11, 2017
- Mti Mkubwa (Forest Camp) to Shira Camp 1
- Elevation: 9100ft to 11647ft (2547ft gain)
- Distance: 5 miles
- Hiking Time: 5 hours
- Vegetation Zone: Moorland
Not rested well from last night’s jet-lagged sleep, I got out of my tent at the first sign of day light. I took nice walk around the campsite and took some photos. Everyone slowly started waking up. We packed up and gathered for breakfast. Johnny, our cook made millet porridge, pancakes and omelettes for us. There were also fresh cut fruit and toast available. We ate a lot. We saw a group of beautiful black and white furry monkeys with bushy tails on the trees just outside our tents. Danny, our guide told us that they were Colobus monkeys, ones with missing thumb. Word ‘Colobus’ in Greek means mutilated or missing part of the body.
We first climbed up the steep Shira ridge passing through the forest and crossing several streams. I was quite impressed with extremely well maintained trail conditions. We passed through deep gorges of moss covered jungle consisting really tall trees. Both Colobus and Blue monkeys were playing on those trees. As we started getting close to Shira ridge, the forest started making way for more open landscape consisting of shorter tress and bushes which were scattered here and there. My friend Reshma started getting nauseous due to the altitude on the climb up the ridge. Reshma is my `hiking buddy’. Now that I think about it, I probably have hiked more trails with her than with anyone else. This was my second high altitude trek with her, and I remember she had the same problem climbing over the Dead Woman’s Pass at 13780ft on Incal Trail to Machu Picchu. Angira and I slowed down with her along with our guides Danny and Lodrick. The rest of the group continued at a steady pace. Soon after the last climb, we got the first glimpse of the peak of the mountain peering through the clouds. That was one of those aha moments!
We then started descending to the Shira plateau towards our campsite. The rest of the group was waiting for us at the mess tent when the three of us reached there an hour later. We had delicious lunch of fresh avocado/mango salad, leek soup, french fries, and deviled eggs with papaya. The view got absolutely stunning as the clouds started clearing from the peak in the afternoon.
This was the perfect time to meet and greet with our support group- our guides, cooks and porters. There was a crew of 36 supporting 9 of us in the climb! We danced away the evening with the entire group to the tunes of Kilimanjaro songs. Everyone had a blast!
A dinner of carrot soup, noodles with vegetable sauce, salad, bread and chicken was ready for us at 8 pm. We ended our day with another amazing meal. This day was a bit tiring due to steep up and downhill climbs. I went to bed hoping for a better sleep tonight.