All I can say is that what a great nights rest. I would need it! Our camp site was set against the side of what would begin our initial decent to Barafu (spelling sorry), the main campsite that takes you to Uhuru peak. If I could only describe to you how scary of a climb today was going to be. You see, usually when we climb we cant see where or how difficult of a climb it will be-well, today was a little different. Onlookers were able to gaze at the first portion of the climb, a shear mountain face-honestly I had no idea how this was going to happen.
After a quick breakfast-food becoming more difficult to put down we packed everything and made our way to the edge of the mountain. After what seemed like a miracle, we began following a very narrow path up the side of the cliff face. At times, there was little room for failure-with less than a foot of room to the right, one slip, mean falling hundreds of feet to what I would presume to be-imminent death. Thankfully, after hours of climbing we reached a point where the ground leveled out and there was room to breath. What a relief! Also, we were able to sit for a few minutes and take in the views-I should have taken more pictures. For the next part of the climb we went down and up, up and down to a point where we were only hours from where we would stop and eat lunch. Our guide decided that it was important to eat a hot lunch because later tonight we would be making our trip to the summit.
Upon eating a very good lunch with the wind howling from every direction, our tent seemed to be the only place we wanted to be-outside the rain was falling from every direction and it was bitterly cold. Several different times our deliverer of foods and the like (just doesn't seem right calling him a waiter) asked if we were ready to go-each and every time, yes was the answer, but we hardly moved. Finally, after over an hour our we forced ourselves to bundle up and begin our next leg of the climb to Barafu. The weather on Mt. Kili is quite amazing. Just an hour ago we were freezing and could barely move and now we couldn't seem to take off enough clothes to cool down. Tricky mountain.
Our next campsite, Barafu arrived unexpectedly. I didn't think it was a campsite because of how small it was but in fact our tents were being assembled as we made our way into a shanty of an office to sign our names. If I had to describe Barafu in one word-amazing! I know, not a very good adjective, but finding one word let alone a series of words to capture the sights encompassing Barafu is rather difficult. Okay…let me see if I can describe it a little better. Do you remember the first time you ran downstairs during Christmas morning or the feeling you had when you first learned to drive? What about your first date-or the first time you lost someone. It is the culmination of all of these such that-without reservation you learn not to question how, who, or why put all of this here, yet, unassuming you find yourself thanking and becoming quite sad knowing that at some point you will have to move on. I can't expect Uhuru Peak to be quite as beautiful; as for now, I will stare in amazement at my christmas morning, the next best thing.
A quick nap followed by a brief dinner should have prepared me for the long morning ahead. After being debriefed on what was to come later this night 11:30pm we made our way to our tents for some quick shut eye-4 hours to be exact. The wind at Barafu was even more relentless than at any other time on the mountain. At one point I imagined my tent being caught in an updraft that would send myself and tent over this table of a very small mountain we were situated upon.