Feeling better this morning after drinking at least four liters of water and re-hydrating! Saw the Southern Cross last night - so bright. Glad our tents are reflective orange and stand out from the others, or I would have been lost when I returned from the "western" toilet.
Today's plan: climb to 15,020 feet and have lunch at the Lava Tower before descending to Barranco Camp (13,100 feet). The up and down is to help us acclimatize. I'm wearing a light pair of long underwear beneath my hiking pants, two long sleeved shirts, a windbreaker and light knit gloves. It's a long, slow climb to the tower up a gravel trail. The clouds are cotton poufs to my right. Mt. Meru's pointed cone peaks above the cloud layer.
My nose constantly runs from the wind, my tissue is a wet, twisted mess, and my daughter finally shows me how to blow my nose onto the trail. Gross, but by this time I've just about lost all sense of modesty. I alternately feel good, then bad due to the altitude. Previously, I've only been to the top of Mt. Whitney which is about 14,690 feet.
Lunch at Lava Tower is soup, chicken, potato salad and mangoes. My new favorite beverage is a cup of hot water.
After lunch - the descent starts with steep, rock strewn switchbacks, straightens out for awhile then back to rocky steps. My husband and I are the last to arrive at camp at 5:30 - we left this morning at 8:30 a.m. - and I'm exhausted from the nine mile walk. My porter runs up the trail to greet me and take my pack. Tears prick my eyes. I know he's working for a big tip, and at this point, I'm ready to give him one.
Dinner - spaghetti, soup, pineapple and another cup of hot water. Bed - 8:30 p.m. It's going to be a cold night, frost sparkles on the tent.