I love being in the mountains! One of my greatest travel experiences was a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Mt. Kilimanjaro is a massive free-standing extinct volcano (actually a fusion of 3 volcanoes) in Tanzania, just south of Kenya and near the equator. It’s the highest peak in Africa (5,895 m or 19,341 ft) and, as such, one of the Seven Summits (highest mountain on each of the seven continents). Its summit can be reached without technical climbing gear but it’s a long walk up.
Our camp before the night of our ascent to Uhuru Peak was at around 18,000′ (5500 m) above sea level, right beside the glaciers of the Western Icefields. The light at these altitudes is very different — softer and yet somehow clearer — than at sea level and the sunset was beautiful! That night was very cold, around -30 deg C., although in a warm sleeping bag it wasn’t bad. We arose a few hours before sunrise and after some hot tea and biscuits began our ascent to be at Uhuru Peak as the sun was rising. This photo is taken near the summit, looking back at the glaciers of the Western Icefields. If you look closely at the enlargement below, you’ll see our porters breaking up camp (bottom, just right of center). There was fresh snow on the peak and the morning was brilliant! You can read more about this experience here
The deforestation at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro has resulted in markedly reduced moisture on the mountain; as such its glaciers have significantly retreated in the past century. It would be a shame if they disappeared altogether.
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