we gear up to begin

i'd just like to point out this porter's awesome pants.

there were a fair amount of people climbing the mountain. at various stops we'd catch up to them, especially at the campsites.

we quickly realized that we fit in better with the porters than the other mzungu (white/euro) climbers, the majority of whom wore fancy climbing outfits and carried high tech gear. we were equipped with old jeans, sweat pants, borrowed long johns and snow jackets. but really, we've always been the 2nd-hand group in every country, on every safari. no big whoop.

the path on the first day was quite beautiful. it reminds me some of climbing in ireland and the old celtic forests.

day one is rainforest, though we were lucky to miss the rain on the way up. you have to hit it at the right time of day, and you can usually miss it. i don't really understand that, but the porters did.

the first time we climbed kili back in 2001, we only climbed to the "First Hut" which is the "Coco Cola" trail's first campsite. that time, not just Julia, John, and I, but also mother and Isaiah climbed. the first day's climb (on both that trail and this one) is only supposed to take a few hours up and an hour or so down. back in 2001, however, we went VERY slow.

by the time we returned , we were "too late". that is, our guide on that long ago day, knew that we had missed the window of no rain in the rain forest. that time, on our way down we were caught in the deluge that gives the forest its name.

on this trip, however, we made good time. we could have gone faster and indeed saw many people speed past us. but we were advised to go pole pole (slowly) even on the first day. and really, why not? we could only go as far as our first camp regardless.

better to reserve and enjoy. julia was very good at this, though john had trouble slowing down. julia and i tried to use the "picture excuse" to keep the pace slower. we both have hundreds of pictures through the rain forest.

our first campsite gave us a view of the mountain far away in the fog. it was also freezing, we thought. which didn't bode well for when it would truly be freezing.

the dinner tent with tastiness, i'm rockin a hot hat, thanks to my friend meghan

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