We arrived at the New Keys Hotel around 10 and checked in; a large group of British students was celebrating their own climb in the hotel pool. Alan and I went over to investigate- and almost got ourselves wet…..very wet. But it was dinner time.. and we quickly, and wisely, departed the pool scene. The New Keys staff was great and treated us well. The team got to know each other, but most of us departed for our rooms early. The next day we visited the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, a group run by an American woman who look after the safety and welfare of the Kili porters.
This is a group that IMG supports well, and it was well worth the trip to show support. The rest of the day was spent walking around Moshi, getting an amazingly good coffee shake at a local coffee shop (good tip Eben), and relaxing at the hotel.Beautiful weaver birds were chirping by our window.
We did our final gear check with our guide to make sure we had the right equipment for the climb and the anticipated cold weather up high, another good meal was followed by early bedtime. After a quick breakfast, we packed up, got our duffle and packs down to the courtyard ready to pack up. Our van arrived, and we drove out to the Machame gate, about an hour’s drive from the hotel.
As we neared the gate, we began to gain altitude fairly fast, and I was glad we did not have to hike up that road to the gate. We drove through the gate-we appeared to be the first ones there that day. There our climb began. It was rainy, foggy, and a little chilly as we started our climb up to the highest point in Africa.
The trail was well groomed and sloped gently upward. We were walking through a thick tropical rainforest the entire day. Quite soon after we began, we started to see our porters for the first time, carrying our duffles and the entire camp up the trail…..incredibly fast. It was impressive to see.