"We left Mandara Hut this morning at 8:30 sharp. This was after a 6:30 hot tea/coffee wake up call, 7:30 breakfast, packing up, filling water bottles, and taking one last leak before hitting the trail. About an hour out of camp, the lush rain forest turned to stiff grass clusters under trees covered with dry moss, and an hour after that, the tree dwindled entirely, replaced by scrubby, chaparral-like vegetation. By this time, Dusty and I had each peed about 6 times and (in retrospect) wastefully hydrated our bodies. We had no idea how hot it was about to get.
Mid-morning (well before lunch) brought about the first glimpse of Kilimanjaro's gray, trapezoidal peak, Kibo. At the same time we also saw the picturesque sharktooth of Mawenzi, Kibo's neighbor, at about 17,500 feet [actual elevation 16,893 feet]. An excited photo op ensured. By the time the lunch stop was announced, we were starving and tired.
We slathered on sunscreen and took refuge in some meager shade for lunch at 1:00 pm. By that point, we each had about a liter of water left, having literally guzzled it away all morning. First lesson learned: drink a lot, but not too much.
Though the food rejuvenated us, the prospect of only being half-done with with day's work was demoralizing. Imagine our surprise when two short hours later, we crested a hill to see Horombo Huts just 500 meters down the trail. It appears our guides weren't too concerned with exactly dividing our day's hiking distance in half, with lunch in the middle. Turns out lunch occurred 4.5 hours into a 6.5 hour hike. Second lesson learned: take hunger into own hands, and snack on the trail before lunch."
Start location: Mandara Hut
Start time: 8:30 AM
Start elevation: 8,923 feet (2,720 meters)
End location: Horombo Hut
End elevation: 12,204 feet (3,720 meters)
End time: about 3:00 PM
Distance hiked: 7.2 miles (11.6 km)
Weather: clear blue sky, bright sun
Vegetation: started in forest, gradually transitioned to grassy moorland
Water consumed: 5+ liters
Outfit (pretty much the same as Day 01):
Contents of my day pack, which I carried:
Contents of my large pack, which a porter carried ahead and delivered to our hut at the end of each hike: