This was written after leaving Horombo Camp enroute to Kibo Camp, reflecting on the previous day. -T
At breakfast Sosta gave us the day's itinerary, which was to climb up to Zebra Rock and then loop around onto the trail that leads to Kibo. This serves the dual purpose of gaining altitude and also seeing tomorrow's route. It was a beautiful hike taking us toward the Mawenzi Peak which rises above the giant groundsel-dotted moorland like a broken tooth. Again, our progress was so slow and deliberate, that if viewed out of context, would be comic in the extreme - like an exotic caterpillar on 'anti-speed'! Zebra Rock is, you guessed it, a black and white striped rock. The stripes are caused by minerals leaching out of the cap rocks of the bluff. The hike to this point had taken about 2 1/2 hours, so we had a short break, took lots of pictures, then set off up the steep serpentine trail to the left of Zebra Rock. About 20 minutes later our breath was taken away by more than just the altitude (about 13,600 ft. at this point). There before us was Kibo, with her apron of alpine desert spread before her and visible in the folds of her skirts the tiny dot of Kibo Camp. It was both exhilarating and disturbing because laid out before us, with absolute clarity was 36 hours of self-inflicted torture. The snaking trail through seemingly endless moorlands, the barren wind-swept saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi, Kibo but then the seemingly impossible grade to Gillman's Point on the crater's edge. Then on up to the glacier and in behind - but no less on our minds, Uhuru, the peak, at 19,340 ft. From the vantage point, we hiked downhill until we joined the early part of the Horombo to Kibo trail, and via this trail, headed back to Horombo camp. On the journey down, my knees complained which was a sobering thought because there are 13,600 ft. of downhill to get us off this mountain.