Mount Kilimanjaro

The first day's hike was easy for us as it involved altitudes very similar to what we acclimatized to in our training hikes around Bozeman in the Bridger Mountains. At lunch time we arrived at a small clearing to find a table and chairs set with a nice meal of fruits, vegetables, meats and a variety of drinks served with real plates, cups and silverware. This was a daily ritual: the porters raced ahead to get lunch set up, then packed up as soon as we finished to race ahead and set up camp and dinner. Meanwhile, we were encouraged to go polepole (slowly); while this was intended to help us acclimatize, it gave the porters a little more time to do their job.

Near the end of the day's hike, the guides commented we appeared to be “summit material” because we had kept up a continual banter of questions, jokes and family matters while walking. Apparently, those who don't have enough breath left to talk at this early stage are poor candidates for the summit.