Editor’s note: Blake Stave and Jared Mack, of Fargo and Rugby, N.D., respectively, scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, this past August. Stave agreed to share their adventure with The Forum.
MOSHI, Tanzania – Our trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro began at the Machame Gate for a hike up what is referred to as the “Whiskey Route,” – a moniker given in earlier years because we came across no whiskey along the route.
Fortunately we made a quick stop as we drove up to the park gate and grabbed a bottle of Red Label which we sipped out of plastic coffee cups in the evenings after a long days hike.
Our team consisted of our guide, a shorter Tanzanian gentleman who appeared as though he would have no problem throwing two of us over his shoulder and carrying us up the mountain, and seven porters. When we asked our guide if he would carry us up if we were unable, he proudly stated “I’ve carried hikers to the peak before and I’ll do it again.”
Fortunately we were able to summit under our own power.
The porters must have made the trek up Kilimanjaro a thousand times in their careers as they traversed the often difficult terrain with such ease; if they passed you on the side of the trail as you were bent over tying your hiking boot, by the time you finished they would be out of sight not to see them again until the next camp.
But while the trek takes travelers through clouds, it began in the dense rainforest known as cloud forest.
The first day consisted of a 6 mile hike combined with a 4,000 foot