Thirdeyemom

Close Up in the Clouds of Kilimanjaro

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.

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

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.

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

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.

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

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.

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”. – Rabindranath Tagore

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

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.

Base Camp 2, Machete Route, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

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

78 comments

  1. 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 🙂

  2. 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

    • 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!

  3. 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. 🙂

    janet

    • 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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 !!!

  6. Pingback: Napoli unplugged | litadoolan

    • 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!

  7. Pingback: The Clouds Below Shira Camp | Thirdeyemom

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