Kilimanjaro Day 3: Shira Cathedral And A Talking Tummy

Thursday, January 17, 2019
Start: Shira I Camp 3610m (11,841 ft.)
Stop: Shira II Camp 3850m (12,361 ft.)
Distance: 16km (10miles)
Gain: 457m (1,500+ ft.)

We cross a stream and gradually climb away from Shira I. Today we’ve got a choice of having a gentle climb to Shira II or detouring slightly to Shira Cathedral before continuing to camp. We get to the trail junction and Emmanuel says that we won’t go to Shira Cathedral because it looks like there won’t be much of a view. But then Future says if we want to go that he’ll take us. One by one we agree to go for Shira Cathedral. Guides Future, Emmanuel and Ignas are with us on this detour so maybe Caspar is hiking with Ed, who didn’t arrive at the junction before we left.

Guide Future followed by Ed (Papa Simba), guide Ignas and Jesper leaving Shira I

As the trail incline starts to increase, Future points to the top of the wall to our right. He points out this tiny little sign and says we’re going up there. It was certainly naive on my part to think that a side trip to a cathedral wouldn’t involve such a climb. The wind is ripping through a saddle in the ridgeline as the clouds float around us. I quickly throw on a layer, grab water and one trekking pole for the next stage of the climb. Emmanuel stays behind to watch our packs. We’re climbing and then we’re bouldering and before you know it we’re following the little ridgeline to Shira Cathedral. The Shira Plateau spreads far and wide below us as Kili peaks through the clouds. Dead branches heavily draped in lichens give a clue to the harshness of this exposed environment and volcanic ridges push out into the clouds. Turns out to not be such a bad view.

Shira Plateau

The moody clouds signal us to get going, for certainly the afternoon rains are coming. We point ourselves in the direction of our Shira II Camp and follow the ridgeline in that direction. My stomach seems kinda unhappy or maybe it’s just gas. Plus the added buff around my head and neck is causing me to overheat and not feel well. Part of the group gets ahead as Ignas slows and shares super cool information about the scenery around us. My porter Reison comes down to greet me and this time I willingly let him take my pack. He’s ahead a bit when I remember that my cellphone is in my hip belt pocket. I want to have it with me to take pictures so I catch up with him and retrieve my phone. Then I’m worried he might think I don’t trust him with my pack so I catch up again and take a selfie with him. It starts to rain and I’m annoyed that I didn’t make it to camp before the skies opened up. There’s nothing worse than having to get into the tent with wet clothes.

We have lunch soon after getting into camp and my stomach is unhappy. I don’t eat much lunch and afterwards I have to shit several times. Not diarrhea but soft. We have to be transparent about our health on this hike so I suck up my pride and tell Future. Future admits he wasn’t feeling well either but he ate some plant on the mountain and now he’s all better. Dang, wish I could have that. I go into the mess tent and Jun Kyu and Jesper are there playing cards. That looks like a lot more fun than being in my tent. Caspar comes in and, sensing that I should also tell him, I explain my tummy troubles. He sends me to find my medication and I come back with my one prescription for traveler’s diarrhea. Caspar says that it’s the right medication and that I should take one now and then one each morning for the next two days. I watch Jun Kyu, Jesper and Caspar play bullshit and then join them on the next round. After the last round, Caspar declares that he will be the next victor. I ask Caspar how many times he’s summited Kili and he says that he stopped counting at 274. It’s the most bazaar round of bullshit ever and I suspect that we let Caspar win. None of us were brave enough to call bullshit on him.

Health check and then dinner. I’m feeling the same and don’t eat much. I just hope I don’t have to make any fast and fumbling dashes out of the tent for the toilet tonight.