Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tales from Tanzania - Day 7 (Kilimanjaro)

 This morning dawned bright and sunny and I was able to see what I hadn't been able to see through the mists of the night before:  the Barranco Wall.  Any of you watch Game of Thrones?  You remember the Wall from there?  Well, other than the fact that it's not made of ice, there's a striking resemblance. And it was not fun  to try and scramble up this thing, especially with three litres of water on my back, which threw me considerably off-balance.  It was a nightmare to climb, particularly one jutting section of rock which you basically have to try to contort yourself around like a spider monkey because there is nothing below you if you fall.  Cripes!  The guides all shout at you "Kiss the wall, kiss the wall" - are you kidding?  I was so close to that damn wall that I think we might be married now in some cultures.  Anyway, an amazing thing happened once I eventually made it to the top and turned around - I was above the clouds.  Behind me was the mountain (terrifyingly close at this point) and in front of ocean of white, fluffy clouds.  I've only ever seen that from an airplane window before, so it's pretty spectacular to be standing above them.

The rest of the day was a long slog along fairly decent trails until we got to the Karanga Valley, which is just a cruel, cruel sight.  Because you can see the camp just there in front of you, but in order to actually get there, you have to descend an impossibly steep, very slippery downhill trail and then drag your exhausted self all the way back uphill on the other side (equally steep and slippery).  It's torture.  But the best thing about it is that once you arrive, you are now done for the day and enjoying your pre-dinner tea and popcorn, while the people who are on shorter treks are forced to carry on up the trail...

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