• WINGS

Hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro

We had an inspirational theme night at our October Wednesday evening meeting. Hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro came to life. One of our WINGS members, Jackie Leech, along with her friend, Lucy Andrews, took us on a virtual tour to Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. A group of 30 people all from Whangarei made this unforgettable trip. Let's take a look at their journey preparation and journey:


Training - It was vigorous. Training included walking up and down Mt. Parihaka in Whangarei, walking at night, hiking in Waipu and, of course, the rugged terrain of the Cape Brett track.


Kit - Colour coded bags seemed to keep you more organised, or maybe not, perhaps just your regular bin bag would do–but only if any form of plastic was allowed in Tanzania. Layers and layers of clothing were to be worn. In fact, some people underestimated the number of clothes they needed to take and ended up hiring more layers.


Logistics - There were around 117 porters (guides, cooks and porters). Food, water, cassette toilets and tents were all carried up by the porters.


Porters - The main employment is being a porter. They work hard, carry heavy stuff and walk up the mountain without a single trace of stress. Singing and dancing, they walked on entertaining the hikers. They were always ready to take that extra load by taking the day backpacks off the hiker's shoulders.


Dining- The hikers always sat at a beautifully laid table in two large tents with flasks filled with warm water on every table. The food was freshly cooked by the cooks.


Hygiene - This aspect of the trip was very well taken care of, again by the porters. A clean toilet, warm water and hand-wash were always available.


Walking – Seven days on the mountain – up for 5 ½ days and down for 1 ½. The summit night started at 10 pm with the break of dawn before they were at the summit and the day finished the next afternoon 2000 m down. Starting in the temperate forest, rather like NZ, through moorland and into the alpine desert. The hiking was "pole pole" – "slowly slowly". The altitude made things slow and difficult and caused problems for many people with headaches, vomiting, loss of appetite, hallucinations and more.


Thank you to Jackie and Lucy. Your talk and photos gave us a little glimpse of what must surely have been an unforgettable experience.