Bryn :: Rongai

Written at 4am Friday, the second walking day. Everything is perfect.

I didn’t get to wake Matt up as planned. I looked out the window and shrieked with excitement at the sight of the sunrise on Kilimanjaro on a cloudless day. I woke up Alan and Tony in the next room with my excitement.

We set off for the Rongai gate at 9.30, I was sitting up front with Lawrence the driver wearing his tartan Viking hat given to him by Gavin so I could film the journey. We passed through numerous villages full of colour and filled with people carrying huge weights on their heads. Imagine how tall these already tall could be.

We arrived at the start at 11.30 and met our guides and the chefs. After a team photo and a few words reminding us to look out for each other from Gavin, we set off led by Chief Guide Robbie. I expected the pace to be slow. I didn’t expect it to be so slow. We stuck together and climbed 600m over four hours through farmland and forest. We saw monkeys, beautiful flowers and even a thistle. A good luck sign. The whole time a continual stream of porters passed us carrying the bags, tents and supplies for camp. Our support team is 101 strong.

It was a glorious day. Although the pace was slow, I struggled in the heat, not drinking enough water. We stopped for lunch and occasionally to take a breather. It wasn’t hard walking, but it was a hint of what might lie ahead.

As we climbed the views behind us of Kenya and the Serengeti were magnificent. We arrived in Camp One at 4.15 and sorted our tents. Matt and I met our porters, Essen and Stanley who would be with us all week.

From 5 until 6pm we went on a short acclimatisation walk up the hill. Walk high, sleep low.

The rest of the evening was one of surprise. Surprise that a bowl of hot water was delivered to the tent for washing. Surprise that they had brought a mess tent big enough to allow all 29 of us to eat together. Surprise that the meal was so amazing. Zucchini soup, followed by battered fish and fried spuds with veg curry, topped off with fruit salad.

The banter at dinner was led by the usual suspects; Ian, Alan and Tony. Soon descending to the usual level. Today’s topic was piles. Childish, coarse and very funny. After dinner, the guitar came out and we sang like strangled cats.

The stars are out, the clouds are gone and Kilimanjaro towers over the camp.

Let’s see what Day Two brings.

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