One of the items on the Parker’s bucket list is to spend time in a rain forest and that wish is about to come true. During the first night of our Mt. Kilimanjaro climb we will be sleeping in the rain forest at Mti Mkubwa. I have no concept as to what it will feel like sleeping in a rain forest other than wet! Really wet!
A few nights ago Geoff was watching a show about Africa and the wildlife there. I had not really thought a lot about snakes, that is until I watched the show. It was a little unnerving to be quite honest, but I just keep telling myself that snakes are more frightened of us, than we are of them! Right? You believe that too, don’t you? How many snakes could there really be in the rain forest anyway?
I think it will be cool under the shadows of the forest canopy on the lower slopes of the forest zone. We will most likely awaken to chirping and hooting noises of forest birds on that very first morning. There is a possibility that there could be some monkeys at this level and small ground squirrels. (Will Geoffrey be tempted to feed the squirrels?) This may be the only morning that we hear the sounds of wildlife as we awaken to begin our next ascent. I hope to awaken to the smell of fresh brewed coffee? You know me – I am really not a responsible adult without that coffee. There is not a chance that I will have fat free half & half, but the coffee will do nicely!
After having our first breakfast and endless cups of coffee (I hope), our team will pack up our day packs to start our climb towards the heath and moorland zone. I have a feeling we will all be thinking of running out to jump in the shower as soon as we awaken; oh yeah, no shower available on Mt. Kilimanjaro! No worries, Lulu and I have everything under control. We will all be using our little moist toilettes and enjoying it! 🙂
I cannot help but wonder what will run through our minds as we pass from the glades and climb towards the next climate zone. Kilimanjaro is looming, brooding, mysterious and simply vast. Imagine the pre-historic story behind this incredible mountain body. It once featured buckling plains, magma erupting from fractures and faults, venting volcanoes, eroded volcanic cones and vast calderas filled with bubbling black lava. Then out of all this, it was Kibo which emerged victorious, rising some 5,985 meters above her sister mountains, Shira and Mawenzi.
Each of the five plant zones of Mount Kilimanjaro are moulded by Kilimanjaro’s unique features. The climate, vegetation and wildlife are all affected by the location of the mountain which sets on an open plain, so close to the Indian Ocean. The sheer size and height of Kilimanjaro itself creates the mountains own weather system, which is ever changing as each hour passes.
A couple of hours after lunch we cross into the Shira Caldera, a high altitude desert plateau. This will be very different from the rain forest where we started our day. The Shira Plateau is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones that has been filled with the lave flow from the Kibo Peak. Over the centuries, weather and volcanic action has decimated the outer rim.
Team Parker will climb for approximately 7 to 8 hours on day two. When we reach an altitude of 11,500 feet, we will settle into our camp right there on the plateau. There will be a surprise awaiting our crew as we approach this altitude! For the first time since starting our journey, we will get our first view of Kibo – the great summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and our eventual destination.
The Kibo Summit – The year of planning and training to reach this summit; reading and writing about about Parkinson’s research that is occurring around the world almost every day since we launched the climb; Raising donations for Team Fox, and the four mountains Team Parker has climbed. Listening to Michael J. Fox and his amazing team at the April awards dinner, and meeting some of the most incredible people through out the year! All of these things will run through our minds as we take our first look at the Kibo Summit. Our goal – to reach the summit! Bring it on!
The real goal – to raise awareness and funding for Team Fox! Bring it on! Bring it on!