Tuesday Sept. 30th.
Day 1 — Machame Gate (1800m) to Machame Camp (3100m)
We meet our guides — Victor Shirima and Oswald. Quick visit to Zara in Moshi and we’re off. At the gate we sign in and meet some others. There is a UK group going up with us (same itinerary and from Zara). We set off. I like Victor immediately. He’s very likable and I am very glad that Wendy and Laurie (from the CTV special) recommended him to me. He asks a lot of questions about Wendy and Laurie. Unfortunately, other than a few emails, there is very little I can relate. Victor informs me that he hopes to climb in South America later this year with Wendy and Laurie.
Everyone is in high spirits. The landscape is amazing and we are walking up the cloudforest. I am tiring as we make camp. The UK group seems to be a lot of fun and all from the same company — we would later find out that it is indeed one company – a marketing company in Chiswick. The owner wanted to celebrate his 55th birthday at the summit and he had “forced” his company to come along. Very cool.
One of the girls – an Irish lass named Sinead seems to be barely hanging in there this first day. We help adjust her pack after lunch. I am truly amazed and will be continually amazed for the next 7 days when it comes to our porters. They carry our packs on their heads almost running up the mountain side in equipment that is shoddy. Unbelievable!
Arriving at Machame Camp our tents are already setup, popcorn made and tea is ready. This is incredible luxury. We cannot see Kili — the clouds are in. Chris and I will be sharing a tent. Our meal was incredible. I can no longer remember the menu but it was assuredly good. I do remember I ate too much and now wonder if that was not a contributing factor for the rest of the night.
The night is most unpleasant. I am now suffering from High Altitude Flatalus Expulsion (HAFE). I am farting almost constantly all night. I feel like I am floating on a stinky cloud. Chris is suffering from HAFE also, but I am king! Ha!
In the middle of the night I have to get up and use the squat toilet — it’s actually flurrying — cool!