In exactly one month, we will be departing for Tanzania for our Kilimanjaro Trek. Our group has grown by one, to a total of 7 trekkers with the addition of John E. who hails from Utah… Welcome to the team John! We have been finalizing logistics and travel plans while everybody has been dutifully training for the challenge ahead. Due to all the complications with COVID-19 and its variants, we have elected to fly directly to Tanzania so we only have one country’s customs/entry to deal with. This way, we avoid additional testing and quarantine protocols that would have been required if we had “officially” entered additional countries while in transit.
It looks like everyone is taking the training seriously, going on weekly hikes regardless of the conditions where they live. Although everyone in our group is related, we hail from all across the U.S., so each of us is experiencing different conditions. Thus far, those from the Pacific, Mountain and Central time zones, have gotten the best cold weather training. For the three of us in the Eastern time zone, the temperatures have been very mild. Ideally, everyone will have an opportunity to test all of their gear in a variety of conditions since we may encounter everything from warm/balmy temps to icy/snowy conditions.
Another thing we have to plan for is the gear we will pack. Since we will be supported by porters who will carry some of our gear, we need to pack smartly. Porters are employed by the trekking company to carry all the equipment and supplies needed to support our group of seven, including tents, sleeping bags, food, cooking equipment and fuel, and personal gear. By Tanzanian law, each porter is only allowed to carry 15kg (33lbs), so even though our group is only seven people, we will be supported by nearly 40 porters. Of course, each of us will also bear some of that load, so we need to only take what we absolutely need for our 8-days on the mountain.
An important, but not pleasant part of trip planning is preparing for the possibility of experiencing any number of potential ailments ranging from a mild headache and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), to something much more serious like High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Other potential health issues, particularly when living with rudimentary sanitation and basic personal hygiene for a week on the mountain, are stomach issues and nausea.
Ok… have I painted a graphic enough picture? Clearly we hope to avoid all, or at least the most serious of these health issues. In the event any of us do encounter an issue, we have all visited with or are scheduled to visit our doctors to get prescribed a range of medications designed to address these issues if encountered.
Looking forward to sharing the rest of this adventure!…