The following is an excerpt from my Kilimanjaro travel journal, written June 6, 2010
We awoke at about 6:30 a.m., and by 8:30 we were on the way to Kilimanjaro National Park in a safari bus packed with gear, porters and other support staff.
Day one was mostly a road trip. We spent nearly six hours on the road to reach the Rongai Gate. We were served lunch, and then a three-hour hike to Simba Camp commenced. We gained about 600 meters of elevation over about seven kilometers before arriving at camp at 2,635 meters (8,645 feet).
The highlight was dinner where our lead cook, Solomon, prepared an avocado appetizer, followed by pumpkin soup and a green banana dish, then a dessert of cake and bananas. It was delicious and surprisingly hearty.
Dinner also provided quality time to learn about our lead guide, Joshua, and how he overcame his Chagga upbringing to become a porter and eventually a guide on Kilimanjaro.
It’s apparent already that this group of seven trekkers — Jonathan and Zephan, Brits Peter and Geoff, and Canadians Jeff and Claire — will make for a fun group this week. We’ve only been together for a brief time, but already it’s clear that this group has a great sense of humor and good chemistry.
For all of the good times that we had today, capped by a clear night’s starry sky, day two will be significantly tougher as we gain about 1,000 meters in elevation.