We are back in Barafu camp for lunch. I love this place. When I reached Barafu I bought a Coca Cola for myself and Polite. I offered one to Ross but he said no. I gave $3.00 to Joseph (my porter) to buy himself a Coke but I don’t think he wanted to spend the money I gave him on a Coke. That’s cool. I am enjoying my Coke, though. Tanzanian Coca Cola tastes very different than American Coca Cola. For instance, the Coke here is made with sugar instead of corn syrup. Also, the ingredients say that it has plant extracts in it. I’ve never seen that ingredient on an American Coca Cola. Interesting.
We left Crater Camp at 5:30am and made it to Barafu by 8:00am. We were moving. Polite, Ross and I kind of steamrolled ahead of everyone leaving Crater behind as quickly as possible. I’m no fan of Crater Camp. It’s a beautiful place and had I felt like I feel now I probably would of loved Crater but the fact remains that I felt like total dog pooh in Crater and it will forever be a diabolical, tainted place to me because of that. It’s interesting how every step I pulled away further from Crater Camp the better I felt. I wonder how much was real and how much was mental?
Upon reaching our old camp site in Barafu I was pleasantly surprised to see Francisco and Karen. Francisco had gotten very ill after reaching the summit yesterday and had to descend quickly. He had a slight case of cerebral edema. Believe it or not, he saw elephants walking around the glacier at the top of Uhuru. He even saw Jesus carved into the glacier. After Jesus gave Francisco a blessing he made haste for a descent to Barafu Camp. Lucky dog! I wish I had seen Jesus on the glacier. That would of been the ultimate cool! And, I would gotten a free ticket to Barafu Camp. Dang! No fair! Any way, it’s great to see Francisco cheerful and healthy.
When I left Crater Camp I was wearing a stretchy wicking running shirt, silk thermal top, Nike cold weather running shirt, fleece pullover sweater, down fill marmot jacket, goretex shell jacket, thermal underwear pants, polartec fleece pants, Columbia water proof powder pants, fleece gloves, 2 pairs of socks, hiking boots, gaiters, hat covering my ears and I was still cold. It was so cold that the water in my Nalgene bottles was frozen solid.
It’s still a bit chilly at Barafu Camp. The temp is probably in the mid-forties and it’s windy.
We are supposed to re-sort our gear at Barafu, have lunch and then continue down until we reach Mweka Camp way down some where in the 10,000 foot area. Barafu, as you remember is 15,213 feet. It’s the coolest camp in Africa because you can buy Cokes here and hang out with chipmunks. If only we had monkeys here. Then it would be heaven.
It’s amazing how easy it is to breathe at this altitude. The first time I hit 15,000 feet I felt I was going to die. Now, I feel like I’m in Disney Land. The oxygen is so thick here that I feel like I’m going to gag on it. How things change.
I’ll write more tonight.