It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise. – Henry David Thoreau
The one thing I will always remember about living on Mount Kilimanjaro for seven days and nights is the clouds. Every night at sunset I took my mug of hot cocoa out to a suitable rock and watched the changing clouds up close. I felt they were calling me in some strange way. Connecting me to nature and to myself.
Although I’ve done a lot of hiking over the years, I have never spent an entire week living on one single mountain. It was a rather surreal experience. Every camp site we stayed at was at an angle reminding me of what we had climbed up thus far and what remained. Every night sleeping in the tent, I’d put my boots at the end of my sleeping bag to keep my body from sliding down.
Yet, what I will remember the most about life on Kilimanjaro is the clouds. The never-ending, floating, swirling and changing shapes and colors as the sun set over the magical, whimsical clouds.
There is nothing on earth like floating high above the evening clouds on Mount Kilimanjaro. My friend Neha described the fluffy clouds like cotton candy. To me, the clouds reminded me of making fresh whipped cream, spiking and cresting high along the edges of a cold bowl as I beat it vigorously with a whisk.
My favorite time of day on the mountain was sunset when nature was at its finest hour, the golden hour as the sun dipped below the horizon casting glowing light upon the powderpuff clouds. I often sat there on my rock feeling like I was flying, soaring high above the earth in some kind of heavenly splendor.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”. – Rabindranath Tagore
I could have stayed outside for hours, watching the spell of glistening stars light up the evening sky and the Milky Way splash the darkness with white. But once the sun disappeared the cold set in. I layered up inside my sleeping bag and laid my tired body to sleep. Another day had passed on the mountain. Another day unplugged, and far away from civilization with nothing but me and the stars.
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up.
Author’s note: This post is part of a series on my recent trip and climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, to read all posts click here.
Wahtvan incredible journey.. your pictures are truely inspiring… I am sold… Heading there next year – a wandering memory
Thank you! so glad you enjoyed! 🙂
Omg that image was incredible.. Keep it up
Will do my best!!!
Stunning photos – amazing experience. Wow.
Thanks! It was quite surreal up there!
Wow – seeing those clouds itself brought me a sense of tranquillity. Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures and facts.
Thanks! So glad you enjoyed the view!
Incredible photos of an Amazing experience
Thanks for sharing Nicole.
So glad you enjoyed the photos Ruth!
Omg spectacular photos. To be able to spend time on that mountain would be like being in heaven
Thank you so much! 🙂
What a beautiful time you evoked with your words and pictures. Thank you. I could feel the serenity of your evening time there on the mountain.
Thanks Alison! So glad you enjoyed the view on top!
These are spectacular cloud photos. How wonderful it was for you to look them in the eye!
Thanks Marilyn! 🙂
Wow, those clouds are unreal! I love the 4th photo where the clouds seem to dwarf the tents. Great photographs! And what an epic adventure 🙂
Thank you! I loved how the clouds rolled in each night and covered the tents in mist.
it’s really really breath taking… awesome
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the photos!
Surreal picts… to say the least… RUT…. s
Do you remember the clouds there?
Wow… Wonderful pictures!!! 😄
Thank you so much!
Wonderful photo’s! It’s virtually impossible ( I think!) to convey our experiences/feelings in nature and solitude, without the temperature, crisp, balmy, humid or icy, and the sounds, of winds, animals, birds, or even silence,……but ye’ve made a fine fist of it with these pics! Clouds like duvets….x
Yes so true! You are right. I realize now that I never mentioned the sound. There were giant ravens that loved to make a racket but other than that nothing except the singsong voices of Swahili.
How utterly magic!
Thanks so much! It was so beautiful up there.
Excellent – thanks for sharing.
Your adventureous spirit is one I admire!
Thanks Lulu! It keeps me going that is for sure!
Beautiful words and photos! I look forward to being in the clouds soon!! Roar!
Thanks! I bet you are! I will get back to you later today about your earlier question about packing!
I’m not one for camping, but those spectacular views could change my mind.
I must admit Debra that for me the camping part was the hardest thing of all even more so than the hike. The ground was hard and it was really really cold at night. I didn’t sleep that well but have since caught up a lot at home!
To be above the clouds like that, whether in a plane or the way you were, is always fascinating and beautiful to me. Can you believe there are over 600 entries this week at this time?? Needless to say, I won’t make it to nearly all of them, so I do my favorites (you’re in that group) and then do random drop-ins. So many photos, so little time. 🙂
Wow that is a lot of entries Janet and I feel honored that you read mine! I love looking at the entries when I get the time. It is fun to see how creative everyone is!
Great post, love the pics!
Thanks so much! It was so beautiful there!
Wow, your photos are incredible! They really make me feel as though I am there.
Thank you Emily! Means a lot!
Thanks Debbie! Hope you are doing well!!!
I am so drawn to clouds as well. This post and your photos were fabulous. Can’t wait to hear more!
Mind-blowing pics! Am not sure will ever get there myself but this was a very enjoyable vicarious experience. Btw, got to your blog through the Solar Sister’s Neha Misra’s comments on FB. Grt initiative to be part of!
Thanks so much!!! Wonderful that you know Neha! She is amazing!!! How did you meet her?
She’s my cousin and we recently reconnected at a wedding, where I got to know about the Solar Sisters initiative. Good to be in touch with you as well.
Yes Neha is pretty amazing! She is so inspiring and so great with words!
Hey dear , I have been reading your blog and I feel really inspired & I feel that everyone should once in their life take out time and do something like you are doing ………….. REALLY AMAZING PICS and INCREDIBLE JOURNEY and INCREDIBLE YOU !!!
Wow thank you for such a wonderful comment! I am smiling now!
Thanks Nicole for sharing these glorious photos and your vivid description of life on the top of the world 🙂
You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed Andrew!
Absolutely fantastic photos, Nicole. 🙂 I kept thinking- going up is one thing but getting down again would terrify the wits out of me.
Thanks Jo! Going down was really hard on the knees. Still recovering believe it or not!
Thank you for sharing these awesome images!
You are welcome! I’m just glad I got to capture them all! Our weather was perfect the entire week and we were so incredibly lucky for that.
Wow, it´s surreal, thaks for sharing!
Yes it was pretty surreal up there. I felt like I was floating above earth!
You have inspired me to do this hike someday. Stunning photos.
Yay! I hope you will do it! If you do, let me know and I can give you more of the nuts and bolts details. It really was amazing and a life-changing experience in testing yourself. Now I need to figure out what is next!
Very nice article and photos, especially the great sea of clouds. Mountaineering is fun, so fun! Philippines also has Mt. Pulag, a tourist attraction with the sea of clouds.
Thanks for the comment! I have never been to the Philippines but would love to check it out some day. I’ve heard it is absolutely beautiful!
yes it is. 🙂 i would love to share with you bits of our experiences on the mountain https://journeyunderblueskies.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/sunset-at-mount-pulag/. 🙂
Wow, that is beautiful!!! Where is Mount Pulag? Amazing! Thanks for sharing!
Stunning. I need no other reason to go.
Thanks so much!
So so so beautiful and inspiring! those clouds!!! you had quite an adventure there! Congratulations!