As we all awoke on Day 3 in Tanzania, the excitement we had felt for our fellow climbers just 24 hours prior, had intensified! I personally think I was in a state of shock as I checked…and rechecked my packed bags for everything I could think I might need as we traveled through 5 climate zones.
Once our bags were all packed, we set off on the shuttle ride! The journey to the mountain was just as colorful as the previous two days as I continued to see shades of colors I had never seen. The deep greens and blues, as well as rich reds and yellows continued to astound me as I fought every urge to blink. The ride, which was in reality less than an hour, felt like days.
Soon enough we found ourselves at the Macheme Gate! We each signed the guest register book, used the choo (toilet) and waited until it was time for us to begin the climb. Ah the joy of patience. We started out at around 10,000 feet at the gate and would climb about 4,000 feet to the first camp that night. Beginning in the rain forest just before lunch time, I found myself to be chattier than normal–sorry men! Not sure if you remember, but I was one of two women amongst ten men on our Regulator team. Thankfully I have an older brother and a father so the humor/jokes did not get to me as much as amuse me, despite the fact I was the youngest on the team, at just 23 years old.
At Machame Gate
Mark and Chris, ever resourceful, finding another use for trekking poles…soon enough we three became the comedy act of the Regulators, providing comic relief and distractions during the most intense of days. Special shout out to Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and Jim Carey movies…from which most of our stories derived! I love these two.
As we climbed that day, I learned so much about my fellow Regulators. I listened to their stories about surviving cancer as well as celebrating with loved ones who had overcome the disease. I couldn’t help but be inspired by these men who for the most part could be my father, as they shared their stories of becoming involved with Journeys of Solutions. Amidst hearing the stories, we truly experienced the rain forest with a HUGE downpour which lasted about an hour. It was in these moments that I first learned my “waterproof” jacket was like having a piece of newspaper upon me to shield rainfall. Simply, I was soaked to the bone. I would learn later than the batch of jackets from which mine came was the one compromised box of an entire shipment, that didn’t receive the proper chemicals/materials to ensure dryness. Good times.
Trying to enjoy a boxed lunch AND remain dry at the same time. Clearly from the look on Chris’ face (grey and navy jacket), one can see how happy we were!
Jim helping Mark en route to Machame Camp…just another glimpse of teamwork and bonding
Finally, after a long first day, we arrived at camp, signed in and then unpacked before dinner. I must admit, we were most spoiled for by the time we had arrived at camp each night of our climb: our tents were already set up with our bags inside and usually there was hot food/tea waiting for us. The porters and guides are incredibly hardworking.*
*FYI, many of the climbing organizations are part of KPAP (Kili Porters Assistance Program) http://kiliporters.org/. This guarantees that the porters working for the companies listed on the website are treated fairly, receive good wages and have the correct climbing gear.
Special thanks to Tom Stevens for some of the photos above