On the Shira Plateau
Day 2. The group reached the Shira camp today, at 11,300 feet.
"It's a windy and beautiful and cool site. Right now we can look out from our tents and see Kilimanjaro bathed in moonlight," said Peter Blomquist.
Guides described Shira camp as "the world capital of stars," a place where you can "reach out and put a star in your pocket."
At 7:30 p.m. their time, a heavy dew is settling on the tents, and because of the altitude, Blomquist expects to find frost in the morning. The camp is exposed, with winds further lowering the temperature. People are sleeping fitfully, not deeply.
Aside from some mild headaches caused by the altitude, and some personal plumbing problems, everyone is doing well and remains in good spirits.
This morning the "Kahowa Mamas"--Christi Masengill and Catherine Allen--got up early to make Starbucks coffee and deliver it to the climbers' tents. Everyone hopes this will be a ritual for the rest of the climb.
After breakfast and breaking camp, the group headed out of the lush high-tropical forest, passing through what Blomquist described as a grove of old cedar.
They spent most of the six to seven hours hiking through a heather forest, with the trees starting out at 15 to 20 feet tall, gradually becoming smaller the higher they climbed. Blomquist said the heather zone looks somewhat like Scotland. Karen Fries commented that as the heather trees shrank to chest-high level they reminded her of blueberry bushes in the Cascades.
The group had lunch at 10,500 feet, a place the guides called Kili Beach, where a porter discovered a tiny week-old chameleon.
Tomorrow, they head to Fischer Camp, where they will have a small ceremony to honor Scott Fischer, who led last year's CARE climb, but who died on Mount Everest several months later.
Some in the expedition passed along quick messages to loved ones:
And Mel Gee had some time to work on a poem about the Climb for CARE:
"Kilimanjaro 2, a Climb for CARE, began on the 19th day of February