Day 3 - Shira to Barranco
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Wed Jan 16th  

Start Shira Camp 8:30am 3840 m 11,115 ft
Shira/Barranco hi pt 12:30pm 4500m 14,760 ft
End Barranco Camp 3:15pm 3950 m 12,956ft
Distance 10 km 6.2 mi
This morning the mountain came out briefly again - there was fresh snow up there. We were up & packed in time for breakfast at 7:30.  The weather was OK but still cloudy mostly. We started out ahead with Joseph while Frederick stayed behind to put together the lunches and bring them along. We went “pole, pole” (slowly) and seemed to be passed by many people - esp. by lots of porters. We almost never passed anyone early in the day - but later we passed some that had gone on ahead.

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On the trail out of Shira Camp

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Jim, Tom, Dick, Kristin, Julie, Daron

After a couple of hours, it started with a little light sleet or mini-hail and turned into snow.   Not everybody put all of their full raingear on, hoping it would not be as wet today.  I was glad I started with the rain pants and gaiters and added the shell when it started doing something. I also wore my long underwear top under my flannel shirt. Early on, I thought it would be too warm, but was glad later that I had it.  I also had my fleece vest on.  For the third day I just wore the safari pants with the rain pants over them. I was surprised how warm I stayed in them.  I have also been very grateful for the 7 full sets of socks, liners and outers. I am the only one with 7 sets and some are wishing for more because they are getting wet.  The laundry that got done yesterday did not dry - except for things like the gaiters. I have offered Dick some of my used but dry socks - we will see. 
We hiked along in the sleet/snow and finally about 12 Frederick caught up with us and then at about the top we stopped under some rocks - almost caves - to eat lunch in the dry. I did not hit my head this time in the low clearance. Lunches are all about the same - 2 sandwiches - a banana, an orange and a cookie or brownie.  The bread is getting pretty stale - no wonder.  We had a little mold on it yesterday at dinner. 

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Taking shelter in a shallow cave for lunch

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Lava Tower (on the right)

After lunch, we started out but now it became a little up & down instead of up. After an hour or two of this, we descended quickly.  This was the hardest part - hard on the feet and knees. Daron twisted or strained his knee and we stopped for Dr. Richard to wrap it for him. (I also loaned him one of my walking sticks since he only had the one wooden stick. This seemed to help a bit, but he was still quite slow - and understandably so.)  The descent was really steep and wet - it was more like rain now. 
We came around a bit of a bend and the valley began to spread out before us.   It was truly spectacular. I kept stopping for pictures - while trying keep the cameras dry.  Then we could see a large grouping of tents down the valley and realized we were almost there.  It was still a ways to it, it seemed.

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Descending towards Barranco camp

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Kibo towering above Barranco Camp


When I got to camp, all I wanted to do was to remove my boots - they were hurting from the downhill pounding and the attempts to tighten them to avoid slipping.  I did not seem to have any blisters though.  I was very grateful to put on my light boots for around camp.

 The camp - Barranco camp, is right at the base of a huge cliff or wall (Barranco Wall) that we have to ascend tomorrow.   And just above that wall - when the clouds let you see it, stands a snow covered flank of Kibo - the goal.  This is not the side we climb Kibo from. We asked the guides and they pointed out the route up the wall.  It is several hundred feet high - hard to judge and covered with vegetation.  There must be a path winding up thru there I am sure.


 Today was a tough one - climbing nearly 3000 ft and then losing most of it again. Tomorrow should be easier - only about 3 hrs hike - but up the wall.  It is so short because this is where we added an extra day to aid in the acclimitization.

 Dinner tonight seemed a little skimpy compared to last night, but still good and sufficient. They started with asparagus soup, which I would not normally try but it was really very good - perhaps I was really hungry. Then it was some sort of 'mixed vegetables' fried cake.  It was also great but a bit cold. Then noodles with a stew over the top.  We are packing in the calories and the carbos.

We topped it off by converting the mess tent to an OR so Dick could give Daron a steroid shot in his knee. We stood around and took pictures. A unique day. I find myself not quite ready for bed when it gets dark but there is not much else to do so I will quit typing this and go turn in at 7:20.

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Dr. Morgan giving Daron steriod shot