At a glance:
- Big Tree Camp to Shira Camp 2
- 8.7 miles
- 3400 feet elevation gain
- Final elevation 12,600 feet
Our cook woke us up this morning and brought us hot water to have tea and hot chocolate in our tents. Yum. We proceeded to pack our gear and headed to breakfast.
Breakfast started with porridge which wasn’t very good, and the bread that is oh-so-hard to get down. Then we had eggs. I tried dipping my bread in my hot chocolate which helped a little, but I could still only get one slice down.
We got our bags ready and then headed out. Yesterday I started to get a cough, and I got really nervous that I was starting to get sick. We’re not supposed to be feeling this crappy so early into the climb!
The day ended up being better than expected. There was a lot of uphill, but it wasn’t too bad when we were going pole pole. A lot of porters passed us along the way, carrying their own backpacks as gear on their heads.
The jungle quickly transitioned into more of a shorter-bushed area. We did quite a bit of uphill walking, and then it leveled off a bit. At one point (near Shira Camp 1), we had a great view of Mount Kilimanjaro which looked so far away! We stopped for water and photos, and waited for Arden who was back helping a porter from another group who was suffering from altitude sickness and had a headache and was vomiting. We were surprised because we were only at 11,000 feet or so, but apparently it was his first time on the mountain.
We continued walking on a flat trail to Shira Camp 1, which had a beautiful view of the mountain. We stopped for lunch and then continued walking.
The last stretch seemed to go on forever. I used my inhaler at lunch since my lungs were tightening up, but I think this just made things worse. My resting pulse at camp was in the 110s - 120s. Add physical exertion plus an increased heart rate from the albuterol, and you have one very lightheaded person. I just put one foot in front of the other. As we were getting closer to camp, I was getting really hungry and weak. Since I knew we were close to camp, I just pushed through it.
We finally made it to Shira Camp 2 and we were the first group to arrive at camp again. We signed in at the Ranger Station (actually Charlie did), and I refueled with some GU.
Shira Camp 2 was beautiful. In one direction was a view of Mount Meru, and the other way was Kilimanjaro.
Our cook gave us two bowls of “water for washing”, and then we had tea / hot chocolate, popcorn, and cookies. Dinner tonight was leek soup (which I actually don’t mind), “pancakes”, an absurd amount of rice, green beans, avocado, and a vegetable sauce for the rice. It wasn’t bad, but we just didn’t have the appetite to eat it all. I think part of the reason is the altitude, but another part is the fact that we don’t even eat this much at home.
Aside from my asthma, I am feeling much better than yesterday. Charlie is feeling better as well, but he still has a headache that hurts quite a bit.
We played around with my pulse oximeter before going to bed. We are at 12,600 feet now. My pulse is in the 100-130s, and resting O2 sat is 78%. Charlie’s resting pulse was about 85, and O2 sat was in the low 80s.