Kilimanjaro Day 6 – Short Hike Across the Desert

  • Journey: From Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
  • Hours Walked: 3
  • Starting Elevation: 3,930 m
  • Final Elevation for the Day: 4,600 m

Day 6 was a short but intense 3 hour trek across the desert.  By this time, we had gotten high enough up the mountain that we had left all vegetation behind and were now in the alpine desert zone – dust, dirt and slate rocks (some gorgeous pieces that would make fabulous tiles!) made up the landscape.  I made it up to Barafu camp, or base camp, with nothing but tingling fingers (the Diamox at work) and a nose bleed.  Actually, it wasn’t a nose bleed so much as it was the delicate lining of my nostrils reacting to the vast amount of dust that went up my nose that morning.  I put some lotion up my nose to soothe and protect my nasal lining and the problem was (mostly) solved.

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Looking chic upon arrival at Barafu. Pictures can lie…I wasn’t feeling chic at all

In any case, I had bigger fish to fry.  We would begin our trek to the summit that night.  A nose bleed was the least of my concerns.

I should note that on our walk that day, Elly had had us practice how we would walk on summit night.  At first I didn’t understand what there was to practice but he made it very clear.  I couldn’t keep asking for breaks to catch my breath or we would never get there.  Stopping every 15 minutes on a mountainside in the middle of the night is undesirable so I had to get my mind in gear for that.  I successfully made it through that day’s walk only initiating a break a couple of times.  Otherwise, I pushed through until Elly called a halt.

I spent that afternoon reading my Bible, praying, sleeping and eating whatever was put in front of me.  I knew that I would need my rest for that night and the following day, which would be the most gruelling of all.

At lunch, Elly seemed concerned about how bright and warm it was.  He said it most certainly would mean that the summit would be colder that night.  He also told me how to dress – basically, wear every piece of clothing I had brought with me.

I forced myself to eat dinner (I was so full from lunch that it was a struggle but I knew I would need to carbs), asked God to use my journey to bless somebody, and prayed for strength for the coming night’s work.  Isaiah 40:31 replayed in my mind on a loop:

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  They will mount up on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be afraid.

It seemed fitting.  I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

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