Kilimanjaro – Day 5 – Second cave to Third cave camp

We woke up a bit later about 30 minutes, but I was already up with the birds like usual. Sun was rising and it’s beams were hitting the snowy summit creating a postcard view which me and Rolf from Switzerland stared at for a while and took photos. We tended to be the first ones to wake up each morning with the birds. I liked to be up before the hassle and fall asleep after everything is quiet. I suppose it’s my way to unwind and relax after being social for the day and allows me to listen to my own thoughts for a while.

Post card view of kili at 6 am just after sunrise

This morning though I woke up early also because I was so hungry. A few days of walking uphill and the bigger calorie consumption it is starting to catch up on my body. In the morning they had always hot water in the mess tent so went there to get some Milo so I would last until breakfast.

It’s the same routine every morning it seems. Camp life has it’s own schedule which was getting more familiar to everyone. The chef and his assistant(s) wake up a bit earlier to boil water and cook food just before the sunrise around 6:30-7am. Breakfast has been good so far with oat meal, toast, pancakes, fruits plus sausages, jams, honey and such with coffee, tea and Milo. I usually took oatmeal, coffee and toast or pancakes. Toast with honey, jam or peanut butter and pancakes with honey and lemon juice.

Our destination already closer but still so far…

After breakfast we headed uphill again and everyone stopped on the way at the spot where we knew there was mobile coverage for a while to message home and check messages back. It was a cloudless sunny day so it was hot although it was not more than 12 to 15 degrees at daytime. Cold breeze helped a little bit but the trek still it felt like it was a really long way although it was only 3,73 kilometers and ascent 380 meters from around 3483 meters to 3948 meters.

I probably should have drunken more water again as the headache started again after few hours of walk. By the time we got close to Third cave and to our snack break spot I also started getting a bit of nausea, but forced a Snickers bar and some peanuts down my throat. Snickers bars have become my new best friend along with everything else high carbohydrate. Apparently at high altitude it’s better to eat high carbohydrate food and keep protein to minimum as it helps with acclimatization and creation of red blood cells.

Next to our campsite was this huge floodplain

After we got to Third cave camp I slept for a a while and we got some lunch. Nausea had passed also so decided to go for the acclimatization walk after all, just a short walk up the hill again. It had been really misty since we got there and we were among the clouds which kept sweeping the plain, The plain on the side of which our campsite was looked like a floodplain for rainy season or when the snow melts down they would create a river rushing down from the top. We had not really seen the views until then, but suddenly the mist disappeared presenting another postcard image view of the Uhuru peak in snowy white sunset.

Uhuru Peak appeared after the mist vanished with the sun setting behind it
Photo towards our camp from acclimatization walk altitude 4000 meters

It looks a lot closer now, but still 1800 meters in altitude away our camp being at 3800 meters and the walk took us to about 4000 meters. Never been that high in my life without an airplane so good on me for making it this far!

After the walk high altitude symptoms started to kick in again more and I did not feel like eating at all and the headache came and went. Nausea was definitely worse than the headache though. Managed still to eat a bit of soup, pasta and mangoes. After dinner the usual coffee and tea to get the fluids out of my body and more water to acclimatize and heaps of “Alfresco” visit. It was getting a bit harder to find “good spots” as there were hardly any plants and fewer rocks. I did not really like the portable toilet for number one anyway…

Going any higher felt a bit daunting to be honest as I was struggling so much with nausea and the headache coming and going. My head felt really heavy and the headache was mainly in my neck. Typical high altitude symptoms I was told. I had not taken any medication because I wanted to know when I start to feel bad. I needed to know what my body is telling me so decided not to take anything unless I have to and so far the headache tended to go away when we got to camp and stayed still and by the morning it had always been gone. So I was hoping that this would be the case this time too and fell asleep in those thoughts trying not to slide downhill on my mattress all the time.

The next day we would be heading to Kibo base camp at 4700 meters which would be our home for the next few nights before going back down.

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