Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tales from the Trail

Day 4 of our Kilimanjaro adventure consisted of a 7.5 hour hike from Shira Camp all the way up to the Lava Tower at 14,765 feet and down to our current camp location in the Barranco Valley. Several members of our CAFrica team reached a milestone by hiking beyond the highest altitude they have ever been: Adnen, Chad, Tom, Thomas, Mike, Shane, Wendi, Byron, Cathy, John, and Jane. We have been testing our blood oxygen saturation levels each night with a hand-held pulse oximeter and all of us are registering 80 - 95% which is considered acceptable at this altitude (at sea level O2 saturation is usually around 100%).

Our long days of hiking have been filled with meaningful debates of intellectual, business, and philosophical subjects as well as highly entertaining discussions which many times have degraded to topics related to personal hygiene and the fact that we have another 4 days of living in tents without showers and without proper toilets. This has also lead us to coin Swahili nicknames for a few of our members. Starting with my personal favorite is:
Shane - Mbwa Uchafu=dirty dog
Jeff - Mbwa Mkubwa=big dog
And I will leave as a mystery the team member now known as Yuko Uchi=naked person.

On a more serious note, tomorrow we will be tackling one of the steepest parts of this route - the Barranco Wall. It is an imposing mass of rock at least 500 vertical feet in height. Although it is not a technical climb with ropes, it does require some skill, agility and courage. So until we check in again I will leave you with this quote:

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller, as quoted in Steps to the Summit.

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