Today is prep day and the seriousness of this endeavour was emphasized this morning when we met with our guides. Faheem, Tusker’s onsite operations manager, introduced us to Thobias, the lead guide who has worked with Tusker for 18 years and two other guides, Stanford and Pastori. After briefing us on the information we needed to know, Elias then turned the conversation to medical matters. Each of our vital stats were taken and recorded. That will occur twice a day for the remainder of the trip. Tusker also carries oxygen and portable altitude chambers for those who are having difficulty with altitude sickness as well as equipment to aid a quick evacuation in the worst case scenario. It sounds like they’re prepared for anything but hopefully none of it will be necessary.
We are all now taking Diamox to help cope with the altitude that we will soon be facing. Unfortunately, I had an adverse reaction overnight – likely a combination of the Diamox and inadequate water intake. I could not sleep due to a blinding headache, almost migraine force and so when everyone rated how they were feeling at check-in this morning, I was a shade off 10 (“best ever”) that all the others reported. However, I am slowly bouncing back.
Following our meeting, we were then given 20 minutes to lay out all our gear on our beds. Each of the guides went around to check what we had and ensure nothing was missing. Then the challenge began to pack it all into the bright yellow Tusker duffle bag that was issued, only to find that despite my precision packing, I am 5 pounds over the limit. So now I must start all over again and purge those ‘nice to have’ but not essential items.
The group of 8 and the guides will meet again tomorrow morning for the final luggage weigh-in. Hopefully I’ll have it figured out by then. Shortly after, we head out for a 5 hour commute to the start of our climb. We will walk in for about three hours before we can check off Day One as ‘done’. We will be starting the day at approximately 3,000 feet at Moshi and, by the end of the day, we will be at 9,100 feet. Sure hoping that Diamox is kicking in as it should.
I have also included a couple pictures from today’s walk through the food market. However, we were asked not to take any pictures of the merchants. There was a lot of opportunity to purchase items along the route but I don’t think our group was particularly focused on shopping so much as we were on tomorrow’s start.
Soon on our way…