To start 2011, Emma Higham has written 2 posts discussing her walk up Mount Kilimanjaro for The Good Life Orphanage. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did, and if you want to donate to the already incredible amount raised then please do so here!

When I first visited the Good Life Orphanage in 2009, I remember thinking to myself “wouldn’t it be amazing to climb Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser for the Orphanage” but quickly dismissed the idea as clearly lunacy.

But it seemed the seed had been sewn as sure enough just 6 months later I found myself sat in STA Travel, half proud of myself, half thinking I had finally lost it, handing over the deposit for a 6 day trek up Africa’s highest mountain.

Before giving myself the chance to back out I emailed Mary and set up a Just Giving page!

The next few months involved lots of training with my good friend and fellow Kili trekker Aletta. We swam in freezing lidos, walked the two hours into work and generally amused our colleagues by teaming floral dresses with hiking boots. Then on October the 31st full of nervous excitement, off we went!

Arriving at the hotel in Moshi, we were greeted by some very tired, wind burnt trekkers who seemed to take great delight in putting the fear of god into two somewhat naïve girls. Telling us all about just how tough it was to summit. But we were hugely re-assured when later that day we had our ‘pre-climb briefing’ with our amazing and vastly experienced (he has climbed Kili over 100 times!) guide Mndeme.

Our first day took us from the Marangu gate of Kilimanjaro national park up through some beautiful rainforest, monkey spotting as we went.
All the guides and porters you passed along the way tell you ‘poli, poli’ which is Swahili for ‘slowly, slowly’. This Mndeme told us is the key to conquering Kilimanjaro. We spent the night in small a frame huts tucked up in our sleeping bags listening to all the sounds of the forest.

The 2nd day took us up Horombo camp, standing at 3700m high. At this altitude ‘poli, poli’ is not a choice, you really can’t walk fast anywhere without feeling out of breath and exhausted. The camp itself was above the clouds which made for some absolutely beautiful views. That night we watched an amazing electrical storm, which was happening pretty much at eye level!

The 3rd day was our acclimatisation day. We walked ‘poli, poli’ up to a place called Zebra rocks (4200m) and essentially just sat for an hour or two hoping that no head aches or nausea set in. We then returned to Horombo for one more night, waiting for tomorrow morning when we would begin the real trip to the summit.

To be continued …

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