Monday, December 26, 2011

Day Two- Mti Mkubwa to Shira Plateau

Starting Point: Mti Mkubwa, 10,000 ft. elevation
Ending Point: Shira Plateau, West Side, 11,300 ft. elevation
Total Climbing Time: at least 6 hours

We continued our climb through the montane forest. As stated before, I loved the greenery; there were various kinds of trees and bushes. Where's the path? More importantly, where's Herman?

There was one plant I DID NOT like in the montane forest: the stinging nettle! Why? Check out the photo of my back, below.

Yeah, I slipped on the mud and fell on my derriere (and a patch of stinging nettles). That was fun. Little did I know that things were going to get much worse...

We took a water and bathroom break mid-morning. This is also where our speedy porters happened to pass us:

We carried on a path like this until we finally broke free of our first equatorial zone (the Montane Forest) and entered our second equatorial zone (the Hagenia Zone). For those wanting to know anything about the Hagenia Zone, this is all I could find, courtesy of the Kilimanjaro National Park: "The subalpine southern and southeastern slopes between 2,800-3,100 m have forest of Hagenia abyssinica with Podocarpus latifolius and Prunus Africana; and on the north slopes Juniperus procera - Podocarpus latifolius forest with Hagenia abyssinica." Perhaps it's just better to look at my photos...

Finally, open space! I definitely felt less claustrophobic once we entered this second zone:

At one point along our path, Herman showed me this ant home. Check out the video to watch ant life at its finest! (Granted, Herman pissed the ants off by knocking on their home and putting an "intruder" in their space- a leaf).

There were other interesting plants and flowers along the way, including this skeleton of a protea and St. John's Wort (which some of my clients take for their depression!):

 We eventually reached a point where we could faintly see our porters and our approximate lunch spot. The pink circle is around our porters. We were eating on top of the ridge. After lunch, we would start climbing north in the direction of the arrow:

I zoomed in on our porters. They are the little orange dots:

We finally made it to our lunch spot. Unfortunately, it was pretty rainy. The porters are resting in their kitchen/bedroom. I'm hanging out in our dining tent.


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