The snows of Kilimanjaro may be melting, but they made a brief resurgence today. This morning we awoke to a half-inch dusting of white. It was absolutely beautiful, as if God had sprinkled powdered sugar all over the mountain.
The hike today was supposed to be shorter, but it still took us about six hours to make it to camp. There was more scrambling than on other days, and we had to use our hands on numerous occasions to go up or down the trail.
The effort was more than worth it. We are now camped just below Kibo Crater. When the clouds lifted, the snow-capped dome of the mountain stood in stark contrast to the blue African sky. Below us lies the town of Moshi, covered by a thick layer of puffy, white clouds through which only Mt. Meru can stick its neck. As the sun set to the left of the summit we were afforded opportunities for beautiful photos as the last rays of the sun stretched themselves across the clouds.
We supped in the dinner tent, and when we emerged we were treated to a bright crescent moon and stars (I don’t know any of the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations!) that made the snow on the mountain glow. There were also the gray streak of the Milky Way and, down below, the twinkling town lights of Moshi.
All of our group feels fairly good or better, and hopefully with one more day of acclimatization we will all be ready to attempt the final ascent. Tomorrow will be crazy because even though the hike is shorter, we will try to go to sleep early so we can wake up at 11:00 pm in order to reach the summit by sunrise.
Copyright Axel Schwarz 2005