Directly from my diary logged on August 13 in the evening:
I woke up this morning with a minor headache and have had one most of the day today. So I’m now focusing on re-hydrating myself.
Our morning ritual is:
7:30 am (times change according to the day’s itinerary) is “knock-knock”, where two cooks wake us up and offer a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. I’ve been choosing hot chocolate.
8:00 am: “washy-washy” (Peter’s terms) when we’re given water to wash up with. I haven’t been using this option in the mornings.
8:30 am: breakfast.
Breakfast today was a ground millet soup (something quite similar to cream
of wheat), an assortment of hot drinks, bread, butter, peanut butter, marmalade and other stuff. And there’s always one form of egg or another but I have eggs boiled specifically for me because I’m really not enjoying fried food.
After breakfast we put our day packs together and hiked up beyond 4000 meters (Horombo is at 3720 meters) to Zebra Rocks. This is to help us get acclimatized. It was a steep hike but lasted only about an hour up and was enjoyable. Zebra Rocks is a cliff in the mountain where rain and run-off carry minerals and calcium that then dries on the rocks giving them a striped black-and-white color that is very beautiful.
We stopped there, rested and had freshly made popcorn (compliments of the cooks) and biscuits. It was windy and cold but we were well insulated. Others had piled up rocks all over that area – we were told as a symbol that they’d been up there.
So I went about piling up an Amy/Renate/Nadia pile. We all had pictures
near our pile and with Zebra Rocks and headed down, which probably only took about 20 minutes.
An hour or less later we had lunch: pumpkin and carrot soup, a rolled crepe with spinach inside, french fries, lemoned chicken, cole slaw, and pineapples for desert. I have no idea how all that food is carried up this mountain. Actually, I do: on the porters’ backs!
I’m told the kind porter who carried my day pack yesterday fell ill. Peter believes it was malaria from an earlier trip to Dar-es-Salam. He was sent back down the mountain.
After lunch we came back to our hut. I packed my bags for the next two days. I put together, in separate bags, the outfits I’ll be wearing on the next two hikes: up to Kibo and then to the summit. I had all my clothes stored in large zip-lock bags to keep them dry in case it rained and also to compartmentalize everything and make it easier to find.
I then slept for 20 minutes and started writing in this journal.
I should probably mention that between lunch and now (about four hours) I’ve been to the bathroom twice. I’ve been drinking lots of water to keep myself hydrated. As opposed to the bathroom in Mandara, the ones here at Horombo are horrible. There are three stalls for women. Two have normal sit-down toilets (without seats). One doesn’t flush and the other leaks so there is a huge puddle on the floor. I’ve been using the third: a hole-in-the-ground baladytoilet. It was in a semi-acceptable state yesterday but today it’s all clogged up with poo and toilet paper and flushing just makes it worse. I added to that pile by pooing on top of it. Ewwwwwww!
Dinner tonight: tomato soup, spaghetti bolognese with peas, carrots, and oranges for desert.
Peter told us a 15-minute joke (he calls them smiley stories) that none of us wanted to hear but he’s been wanting to tell it to us since last night so we had to be polite and listen. We checked out the stars, which you could almost touch, and had our last bathroom break before going to sleep.