Altitude is a factor today, hiking a little more difficult. Polepole (Swahili for slowly) makes sense today and is so important it’s said every time we are passed by a Porter . I’m grateful for the slower pace as we trudge up the mountain single file. We can see the mountain daily and still it seems surreal.
The Porters pass us carrying our camp on their heads and backs. Greetings of Jambo! (Swahili for Hello) begin our morning as they dart past us, hurrying to get to our next camp.
Later, I see the Porters in the far distance and try to only look at the ground as they are so far away. Looking up only serves to remind me of how far we need to hike and I grow weary with the knowledge.
We stop for breaks, getting started again is difficult, but the break from the backpack is heaven even for a short time.
We arrive at Campsite two and our camp is already set up by the Porters who rushed ahead. The Porters are at the stream filling containers with water for drinking and washing. Soon popcorn and tea are served and we munch and savour this treat that would scarcely pique our interest at home.
We dine on a lunch of chicken, fries and vegetables. My appetite is huge and I wonder how many extra pounds I will carry up the mountain. I hesitate for a moment, then fill my plate with a second helping.
Later we climb to a higher altitude to acclimatize. Once we arrive at the higher destination , we scramble happily to higher points of land to take photos, check out the view, or simply because we can. We return to camp to await our dinner. We are eating constantly yet I’m hungry again.
Dinner always begins with soup. We are told tonight’s soup is carrot and ginger, so tasty. Meat stew and potatoes round out the meal. It’s simple fare but very appetizing. We sip on tea, instant coffee or Milo after dinner and chat. After dinner we prepare for bed and retire to our respective tents. It’s cold and dark at night, there is no campfire and thus no reason to linger
We crawl into our sleeping bags and try to find comfort. I can hear the Porter and Guides. It always seems as though they are yelling at one another but know it’s just the language. My bladder demands attention due to a side effect of Diamox, which is taken to combat altitude sickness. I’m cold in my bag and I keep adding layers. I awake in pain, and shift to find a more comfortable position and ensure I’m laying on the mat that separates my body from the mountain”s rocky surface. As a result, sleep is disjointed and seemingly in moments, morning arrives and I wonder if I’ve slept at all?