Let me start by saying “I am not a hiker.” I am in good shape and I exercise regularly by doing pilates and dancing. I started training for the hike in July(5 months prior to Dec 27).  I added hiking two days a week to my workout schedule.  I believe it is a combination of physical and mental training that gets you to the top.

The day of the hike I was anxious and excited.  I tried not to over think it.  I kept a blank slate daily with no expectations just raw determination. When we arrived at the Machame gate it was crazy the number of people waiting to hike.  There were all walks of life and nationalities.  We all had one thing in common, successfully reaching the top of Kilimanjaro on New Years Day.

I was told the weather is always changing and indeed it does.  While waiting it started raining, so out came the rain poncho’s.  We started in the forest hiking over bare roots and dirt that created stairs.  Today was rough and a workout on the legs.  We hiked appx 6 1/2 hours.  I had some cramping in my legs which with time subsided.  We did stop multiple times for breaks.

When you first start out the porters pass everyone, carrying supplies on their backs and balancing larger items on their heads.  As they gracefully pass you by I found it to be amazing and motivating.  The visuals were awesome.  Green everywhere, roots hanging from trees, ferns, flowers and moss.  I felt like Jane waiting for Tarzan to swing by.

I have never been so grateful to reach basecamp.  Tents everywhere.  Our two man tent and 2″ pad was a wonderful sight to behold.  After a hot cup of tea, soup and dinner we settled into our sleeping bags for a good nights sleep.

Day one: DONE