Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Mt Meru always watching us. Bill posing as our photographer.
Our dinner was by candlelight in our mess (dining) tent. It was an interesting vegetable mix with local flair and spices. Juma, our assistant cook, served us. She knew little English and just nodded a lot, especially if we tried some very coarse Swahili. After we finished dinner, we went out to see the stars. We zipped into the tents.
Since I couldn’t sleep due to the jet lag, I went for a walk in the moonlight. It was awesome! I was the only one in camp awake at this hour. I have no idea what time I finally hit the pillow. I had some crazy dreams, like the night before. I was awake at six o’clock, and it was only thirty-five degrees out.
The next day’s goal was progressing from 9966’ to 12,590’, Shira camp. My group was the first up the trail from camp. The climb was steep and strenuous because of elevation compounded by sleep deprivation. But we enjoyed the scenery; the many changes in flora were interesting. We had some good views of Mount Meru before the clouds rolled in and the temps dropped more. I felt good at this point but put on more layers for the cold. The steep cliffs had some hand-over-hand with lots of panoramic views, caves, and volcanic debris with obsidian rock leading up to the Shira plateau, where our next campsite would be.
We arrived at that campsite in the clouds around one o’clock in the afternoon with the terrain looking much like a moonscape. Our tents were already up and ready for us, having been arranged by workers who would stay at each camp from now on (guides and cooks continuing to go with hikers and moving between camps would have been much too impractical physically for them). I was eager to bath and change clothes. I walked around scoping the place out and fixated on these huge birds hanging around. They were called white-necked ravens and seemed to be everywhere, looking for handouts or scraps of food. Rains came quickly but only sprinkled, then cleared. This weather pattern would be consistent with our entire climbing experience.
I wanted to nap even though my body says yes, but I wanted to get a full night's sleep. Dinner chicken, rice and veggies (?)
I did sleep soundly. My night’s dreams were foreboding again.