I stepped in Kilimanjaro Park gate, the starting point of Marangu route, wishing me a good climb, as written on gate. I smiled. Signed in register with permit details. And ventured into my Kili adventure (Mt Kilimanjaro is fondly called as Kili by the locals).
As I took to my Kilimanjaro trekking trail, I found me amid green oasis. And me a wanderer there. All around lush rain forests, suffused with mist. I stopped. I stayed with my rhythmic deep breaths. Dripping through flowing beards of moss, few droplets fell on my face. I softly touched each drop with my finger and paced forward while admiring nature.
Rustling of leaves. Gurgling water of a stream nearby. Sun rays filtering through mammoth trees. If time had permitted I would have spent long hours meditating there in tranquility.
This was my 8 km trek through dense forest to Mandara Hut, my first night halt. On my way I pampered my hungry tummy with delicious packed lunch. And swigged my juice with relish. All my vegetarian delights.
This is the unwritten rule I have set for me that I trek slow if I have to cover long distance. That way I remain constant speed without getting much tired and conserve my energy. At slow and steady pace it took five hours for me to arrive at Mandara Hut. At registration office I was required to fill my details and sign in register. I did so and got my key to share a hut with other climbers. There were toilets with running water and flush outside each block of cabins.
Though this was a long trek with gradual elevation, little tiring too, still I felt so refreshed. My cook and porters had reached earlier. As soon as I occupied my bed, my cook provided me a bowl of warm water to clean my hands and face. Then a call for evening tea with popcorn, in dinning hall. And followed by early dinner, soon after, so that I could have good rest and be ready for early rise, next day.
My Kilimanjaro Climb tale continues….