After a hectic day one, we enjoyed a good nights sleep at the first camp and woke refreshed and ready to go. Hilly but manageable, the hike to Horombo huts was relatively easy and perhaps the most picturesque of the entire hike. We climbed from 2700m to 3700m, from rain forest to sub-alpine vegetation somewhere along the way catching our first view of what we thought was Kilimanjaro. It was a beautiful hike and probably one of my favorites of the entire trek. Covered in snow, the peak looked rather daunting and for the first time I began to wonder if we should be doing this. Assuredly the head guide, George, reminded us to go “pole, pole” (slowly, slowly) every time we stopped for a water break. Neither of us could go “pole, pole” that day and before long we found ourselves several minutes ahead of our guides.
Arriving at Horombo huts earlier than we started hiking the day before (hurray!), we settled into our new digs and watched the clouds roll in. Horombo seems to sit right at the cloud level and each afternoon the entire camp was swathed in heavy fog. Truly it wasn’t such a bad thing- I didn’t really want to stare at the summit for the next four days.
Warming up a bit with hot tea and snacks, we finally got the chance to chat with other climbers. Everyone felt a bit of nervous anticipation for what was to come, and as we sat there enjoying the companionship of the other “crazy” people who were going to climb Kilimanjaro the first reports from the summit arrived. Two very tired looking Germans came into the room, followed soon there after by other climbers from the top. Reports were good: brutal, but do-able. Exhausting, but incredible. The room was abuzz with summit gossip- weather predictions, health and altitude advice, deciding what our “strategies” would be to the top. Excited to know that others had made it and were still alive we retired to our little 4 bed hut and snuggled in for a long night with our new “hut family.”
Sharing the tiny hut with two other climbers: a very nice German girl and a “super” Swede, we called ourselves a hut family to address the awkwardness of sleeping in such close confines. So close in fact, that as the diamox hit our system that night, waking us up every few hours to use the bathroom, there was no way to get out of the hut without waking everyone else. Thus we were a small hut family: we slept very close together, took care of each other and even went to use the bushes together.