While the excitement of getting going made Day 1 a great day, Day 2 was no less exciting. For many of us in the Trekking for Kids group, that was mainly due to the change in the landscape (and maybe having one day under our belt?). Day 1 on the Machame Route had us hike through the forest zone at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro; nice but not terribly interesting (at least to me). We had heard Day 1 could be tough if it were raining or had just rained with the mud, etc. But we had good luck on the weather front.
In any case, on Day 2, we moved into what is called “the moorlands“. And it was a landscape I really liked, offering interesting plants and great views as well. But before we got going on Day 2, I took a look around when I got out of my tent at the Machame Camp (at 10,200 ft / 3,100 m) and this is what was waiting for me!
A moorland? What is that?
I had no idea what moorlands were prior to the hike. So I looked the term up and it said it was a climate zone at some elevation with low-growing vegetation and fog. In the end, the descriptions I had found didn’t really help me conjure a good mental picture though the Wikipedia article actually had a picture of Kili’s moorlands. No worries, I was about to spend a whole day hiking the moorlands of Kili so I stopped trying to get that mental picture. And these are some of the sights of the moorlands! (Hope they give you a better sense of the moorlands than Wikipedia gave me.)
Great vistas were part of our reward on Day 2!
We left camp early in the morning around 7:45 AM under a great and beautiful blue sky. We could see neighboring Mt. Meru in the distance which made for some good photos of the view.
The trail that day was pretty rocky but not in an intense way as other days. Interesting larger rocks along the way also made for photo opps that the group did not let go to waste. This group let NO photo opp go to waste!!
A beautiful place to spend the night: Shira Camp
We had had a great day but it was to get better after the 5.5 mile (9 km) hike: Shira Camp at 12,600 ft (3,840 m) (a gain of 2,400 ft in the day), where we were going to stay that night, was one of the most beautiful spots I saw on the entire climb. It overlooked a ridge (the Shira Ridge) and, turning 180 degrees, would leave you facing the summit of Kili. It was breathtaking, especially at sunset. We were fortunate that we got to camp about 6 hours after we started (around 2 PM) which allowed us ample time to soak in the views – and get good rest before the challenge of Day 3!
One of our trekkers, Annie, had brought, of all things, a couple of small kites, and it was neat to watch her and others fly them. Myself? I joined fellow trekkers Olivia and Austin in doing some stretches after the long day of hiking – but enjoying the great views while at it!
One of the spots with the best view of the ridge and, therefore, a great spot for a photo opp also seemed to be the best spot for a cellphone signal as a few guides would sit on those rock and text away for a while. This spot also happened to be like within 10 ft (3m) from the toilet-tent nearest to my tent – a place I would visit a couple of times during the night as Diamox (the med you take to help prevent altitude sickness) is a very effective diuretic… One of the best pieces of advice we got pre-trip was to bring a so-called “pee bottle” so one could relieve oneself within “the comfort” of one’s own tent… Easier for guys than gals, I am sure. Of course, if the bottle runneth over or a case of bad aiming hit, neither would not be a good situation (not alluding to ANYONE in the group…) so care must be taken in the use of said bottle… Sometimes though, the bottle did not have enough capacity for production so one still had to go outside. That was a slight pain as one had to put on the shoes, maybe a jacket and long pants, find the headlamp, etc. But I never failed to fall asleep easily upon returning from these small nighttime outings, mercifully…
I am not sure how this post took such a turn, dear reader, so I will bring myself back to the more pleasant topic of the hike… OK, since I have already brought the topic up, here is a gratuitous photo of the portable toilet in the toilet-tent. (I know some of my friends and family are DYING to see a pic of one of these.) Are you glad I went “there”?
So, quickly switching gears (warning: awkward turn of topic coming…), this day we had one of our many favorite lunches: grilled tomato, cheese and cucumber sandwiches! A real treat and we all gobbled up these babies up happily!
When it is all said and done…
So all these make for great memories of Day 2 but these are the images that really capture the “awesomeness” of the day for me.
Back to Day 1…
On to Day 3…
Other posts about the Kilimanjaro trek: