"Shira Plateau - Lava Tower: Day 3" Tanzania Things to Do Tip by ateach52

Tanzania Things to Do: 300 reviews and 506 photos

  Nicolas on the Shira Plateau
by ateach52

Day 3 was hellish! Got up at 6:30. It was zero degrees out, and only began to warm up 45 minutes later when the sun came out over the edge of Kibo. It must have been a lot colder during the night, though, as there was ice everywhere. Nickson said he'd come down with a heavy cold, so he went back down the mountain, leaving me in the care of his assistant guide, Nicolas. We eventually set off at 8:30 for the 11 to 12 kilometer trek to Barranco Hut via Lava Tower. It was clear at first and we could see the flat grassy plains of the Maasai Steppe far below us. The moorland vegetation soon gave way to the high Alpine desert, with thickets of pale dry grasses sprouting up here and there between the volcanic boulders, tufts of small white helichrysum flowers and bright green wild carrot scattered across the hillside. I?d opted to take the Lava Tower detour, as supposedly it was better for acclimatization. I?d started off in my Khaki hiking sweater and polartec vest, as well as thin leggings beneath my hiking pants ? more than yesterday, as it has definitely been getting colder. I?d also taken 2 aspirins and a diamox tablet, hoping to ward off any altitude problems that way. By the time we passed the 4 thousand-meter mark, there was little left of the vegetation besides green, yellowish and rust-colored lichens. This was the high desert ? a very desolate and barren landscape. Before long the clouds moved in and obscured Kibo from view for the rest of the day. Every now and then a porter would pass me and encourage me on with pole pole, the Kiswahili mantra meaning slowly, slowly. When we came to an intersection of two trails, most of the other hikers went right, straight to Barranco, whereas I went left, uphill towards Arrow Hut. It didn?t take long before I started having serious misgivings, as my headache was becoming worse.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 5, 2003
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