Hiking With a Cold

Time flies by and Kat doesn’t update her blog enough!

Day 2 of the Hike.  Today we are going to have an overall elevation gain of about 2,000 ft and cover about 5.0 miles.  When I left you last time, I had a pretty bad night with cold symptoms, unable to sleep soundly, and thinking the guides would not let me ascend with all this chest congestion.  But by morning I feel pretty good, although breathing is a little painful to the back of my throat.   Breakfast consists of porridge (corn based) and dry toast with scrambled eggs and sausage.  Our breakfasts end up being similar most days.  And their porridge is horrible, no offense, but I never eat it again, and my two companions rarely eat it.   We ask on the very first day what happens to our left overs and are glad to hear that whatever we leave behind, the porters get to eat.  That immediately ends any thought of overeating just to eat.  Image

After breakfast we have our medical test, a test that we will repeat morning and evening every day of the hike.  

  1. how are you feeling on a scale of 1-10
  2. how is your appetite?
  3. are you nauseous?
  4. have you vomited?
  5. do you have a headache?
  6. do you have any shortness of breath?
  7. are you coughing?
  8. have you urinated in the last 2 hours
  9. have you had a BM in the last 24 hours
  10. do you have diarrhea?
  11. are you on diamox?

For the next 7 days I’ll be between a 7-8, and my only other issue will be a cough.   Then they listen to your lungs with a stethascope. I pass the medical test, as I am coughing, but my lungs are clear. 


 So off we start into the rain forest.  Which turns into a walk through Louisiana?  Spanish moss on the trees…  After we pass through about an hour of tree lined hiking trails, the vegetation starts to shrink and we are walking now through very large shrubs.  We have been on a steady incline, but soon we are heading downhill.  This is where Urio informs us that you cannot climb a mountain by climbing straight up.  It is not a mountain unless you go up and down to get to the top.  The vistas from the scrub down to the valleys below start to show themselves in the sunlight.  We are awed by the vastness of the views and the clear day.  Mt. Kilimanjaro herself is hiding behind the clouds, so no picture of her at this point! Image                    We have been hiking for about 3 and a half hours when the guides tell us we have to take a break.  All 3 of us are hikers, and this slow pace makes it almost unnecessary to stop, except for potty breaks.  But we stop for another wonderfully assorted lunchbox meal.  Today we have 2 falafel cakes (cold), carrots & cucumbers, a fried chicken leg, hard boiled egg, half a PB & J sandwich on white bread, 1 small banana, 1 small orange, mango juice in a box, and 2 cookies.   I can only eat half of what they give me and concentrate on the veggies and fruits.  And then we continue on with the hike.  We only hike for about an hour when we spot the next camp, and it starts to rain.  Wasn’t January supposed to be the dry season?  It is cold and damp, I have on 2 layers and a rain jacket, but my pants are getting wet.  We make it to camp pretty quickly, check in and get to our tents to change into dry clothes.  Kerry and I now confide in each other how much more difficult it is than we expected.  The hiking is not hard, but being cold and not feeling well are taking a toll.  While I am congested and coughing, Kerry is having some digestive issues and is not feeling well either.  The hike was really hard on her today.  We get cozy in the tent and sleep for about a half hour while we wait for tea and snacks. Image

After a nap, tea, and some dinner, we feel much better.  Coming from Texas, we are just not used to being cold all of the time.  Day 2 and we are already wondering when we will be in the warmth of the lower elevations.  And Day 2 and we are already worried about how difficult it will be to summit.  Today we saw an ambulance on an emergency road.  Initially you feel sad for some poor climber that will not make the summit, and then you secretly want to flag down that ambulance and climb onboard!   But we are not giving up.  Despite feeling terrible, despite being cold and being sleep deprived, we are enjoying the hiking.  

Dinner is Potato leak soup, spaghetti and vegetable sauce, and Mango for dessert.  The Mango is wonderful – best I’ve ever tasted.  I pop 2 hand warmers tonight, a habit that becomes addictive.  I crawl into bed and sleep almost instantly.  

But at 4 am I’m up and coughing, to the point that I cannot clear my lungs – and then Urio shows up at the tent.  So this is what it means to hike with a company that is concerned about your health.  My coughing causes concern to the guides and they come to check out the situation.  He listens to my breathing, he asks me to take cold medicine (which I have), he gives me oxygen.  My lungs are still clear, so I’m still ok to hike.  I fall back asleep for a couple of hours.  Will continue with day three in a bit, for now, here are a few more photos.


Protea Kilimanjaro – one of the cooler plants on the mountain



Looking back at the view and the trail

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