DAY 2 Machame is not so nice


We chose the Machame route, the "whiskey trail" up kili because it is one day longer than the "coca cola" Marangu route and supposedly gives you more time to acclimate.

it only took the first day to understand the nicknames- whiskey: hard, coca cola: soft.

the first day is a good 5/6 hours through steep rain forest. we were lucky, we missed the rain and just got all the mud. our first campsite was cold, but charming, hidden among the trees. in the morning we were even granted with a view of kili before the clouds descended.

then came the second night. well, first the second day- we immediately left the protection of the trees going straight up into the brush of the Alpine terrain.

 it was again a steep walk and occasionally climbing up rocks. i didn't mind so much, but the altitude began to attack julia. nausea and weakness kept her pace very slow -pole pole - and eventually we were resting every 15 minutes.

i felt very bad for julia, though i was to feel worse for both of them by the end of the night. but, this was a great day for me.

while she felt like dying, i was enjoying a leisurely, if very steep, pace through the most bizarre fog and creeping vines. throughout the climb, again and again, i was reminded of the vistas from lord of the rings. though the film was shot in new zealand, when i watch them or reread those books, i can't help but think of all the sites of kili.

it is nearly impossible for an amateur to really capture it on film. the constant mist, fogs cameras, leaving shots with an ethereal glow. however, that is not far off from the truth. it was often hard to see more than a few feet into the distance and the various shades of green vines were like a curtain dividing this world from the next.

second camp

julia revived at camp- a beautiful expanse looking over the valley. luckily, we arrived in the afternoon and had the whole rest of the day to relax. she even felt up to eating a bit a dinner. pole (sorry).

i woke from a fitful sleep in our watoto (children's) tent to see Juls projectile vomiting into a gallon sized ziplock bag.

now that is talent.

 the rest of the night both she and john lost every possible thing they could have ingested for at least the last month from, well... both ends.

 totally unhelpful, i laid in my sleeping bag listening to the constant zip and unzip of john's tent and ours as they tried to make it to the latrines. -- the latrines being a hole in the ground enclosed by 3 wooden walls, only sometimes with a door. i imagine this might be a reason people don't make it up the mountain. at 3 or 4 am, juls lost her flashlight when she got sick in the middle of the campsite and turned it off so no one would notice her.

john lost himself when he wandered weak from the latrine and couldn't identify his tent in the dark.

 the next morning was the one real time i thought we might not make it- when john came to our tent at dawn and said maybe we should turn back. i watched the beautiful african crows fighting over the frozen ziplocked vomit, while another attacked the frozen soiled long underwear and waited for a decision. but juls is mighty strong and it takes a lot to knock out john, so on we went.

well it was a beautiful campsite when we arrived, if not so much when we left.

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