My Journey Up Kilimanjaro
By Jess Sutherland
Day two’s target was Shira Camp, we set off at 7.30am and headed straight up a steep rocky track, the air felt so much thinner than yesterday but we were pleasantly distracted by the truly epic views and incredible blue sky. Now that we were coming out of the forest we could see just how far above the clouds we were, our summit was in sight.
Each day the terrain was different which kept us engaged with the trek, becoming less green and more arid as we got higher. Day three was an acclimatisation day where we walked up to Lava Tower at 4600m and then back down to Barranco Camp. After dinner which often consisted of a delicious soup followed by a hearty carb filled meal we were greeted by the most incredible sight of the Milky Way. Witnessing sights like this made me feel completely removed from all that was going on in the world and truly in awe of my surroundings.
From Barranco we headed to Karanga via the renowned Barranco Wall, a sort of African Jack’s Rake, this was one of my favourite days on the mountain as it was so much more hands on than the previous days. From Karanga our next stop would be Kosovo our base camp. As we walked we were completely exposed to the sun with no shade at all, the heat definitely took its toll on us but we made it to Kosovo Camp in high spirits in anticipation of our summit.
From then on it was all downhill. One the same day we walked 4 hours to Mweka camp for our final night in the tents, totalling just over 12 hours that day, before a final 4 hours the next day to the gate. To thank the A Team I wrote a letter which my good friend & support guide Raymond read to them all in Swahili, I wish I could have done more to thank them. I told them they would all firmly remain in my memory of the trip and that I couldn’t say ‘Ahsante’ (thank you) enough times. I spent all the time I could along the journey talking to them, finding out about their dreams and aspirations which I hope are fulfilled one day.