|I woke early this morning at the Marangu Hotel, all ready to go. We got
things packed up & had breakfast - took all my valuables (including wallet, passport
& most money to the office for safekeeping. Then the porters & guides started
gathering for work.. They had already picked who they wanted to use but a crowd was
outside the hotel hoping for a job. They
assigned 4 guides & 15 porters to our party of 6.
Three of the guides also carried smaller loads. The head guide is Joseph &
Frederick is his asstant. The personal porter
for my gear is John. I would have thought they would try to get going earlier in the
morning but their scheduled time to head out was not until 9am.
Porters lined - ready at Marangu Hotel
Group at Machame Gate
|It took almost 2 hours to drive in a Landrover to the Machame gate. The last few km was pretty steep & rough. It was raining when we got there & there were
a number of other groups there head of us. We
were able to wait in a shelter while Frederick began arranging the fees & paperwork. It was raining pretty hard all this time. Finally
at 12:15 we were ready to hit the trail. They
gave us sack lunches at the hotel before we left so we were ready.
I had put on my gaiters, rain pants & shell so did not mind hiking in the
rain. It started rising gently at first but occasionally got steep. We were hiking thru a rain forest with lush
vegetation everywhere. The rain slowed down
but the trail was very wet & muddy & slippery.
We started off trying to follow the advice to take it slow and steady but I thought
we were too slow since we started at about 6300 ft. Several other groups passed us but we
kept on. We ate our lunches about 2:00 with
only a brief stop. Often it was Tom leading -
I deliberately tried not to lead since I knew I would hit too fast a pace for some. Most
of the way we just followed up a ridge edge between 2 valleys. As the day went on, the
trail seemed to get nastier. I even fell once
when my stick slipped. I was using two
walking sticks and very grateful for them.
Hiking the muddy trail
|It was almost 6:45pm when we topped the ridge and staggered into camp. The cook tent
& 3 sleeping tents were up & they were putting up a dining tent. After putting our gear in our tents they brought
us hot water for washing. Then they served
tea & popcorn in the dining tent. Then
came dinner - soup, bread, potatoes, spaghetti, mystery meat and bananas for dessert. They
had a folding table in the tent & stools to sit on. They set out cloth napkins with
the silverware - quite elaborate - more than I expected.
I ate till I was stuffed - we were carbo loading for the next leg. Finally off to bed.