This afternoon we head up to the Trekking Hostel where we start our 8 day trek in the Rwenzori Mountains. The trek climbs Margarita Peak on Mount Stanley which is the third highest peak in Africa, next to Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. We had to check out of our hotel at 10:00 am and the Rwenzori Trekking Company wasn’t coming to pick us up until 2 o’clock. So we had some breakfast and then took a walk around the city. We bought some post cards at the post office, but surprisingly they didn’t have any stamps. They weren’t going to get a new shipment from Kampala until Wednesday, so we figured that we could send the cards out when we got back from our trek.
We bought some playing cards, and went back to the hotel lobby to wait for our ride. We played several rounds of rummy, and then utilized the last bit of internet that we would have for over a week. A little before 2 o’clock, Brian from the Rwenzori Trekking Company came and greeted us. We gathered our things and Brian drove us up the mountain. The foothills of the Rwenzori’s are beautiful – steep hills covered in green trees and plants.
The community of people here live in the steep hills. You can see their houses perched way up on the steep hill sides with plots of farmland just as steep. It’s very impressive to think that every day these people hike up and down these hills to and from their houses. I can see the appeal of living here with the beautiful green mountains all around. We’ve been loving the views ever since we got to Uganda.
When we arrived at the hostel where we would be staying for the night, we were greeted and showed to our room. From the second we arrived, the Trekking Company catered to our every need, carrying our bags and taking our dinner orders. Jay and I started sorting out our things to see what we wanted to take on the trek and what we wanted to leave.
The way that the trek works is that porters carry all of your stuff up the mountain including food, cooking supplies, and our large bags. We only had to carry a smaller bag with daily things we needed like water, rain gear, and snacks.
We were so grateful and impressed by the ability of the porters to carry our huge bags up these steep hills. Our guides said all the porters grew up in the foothills of the Rwenzoris so they were used to walking the steep hills everyday.
Jay and I packed up his big bag with our sleeping bags, extra clothes, and things we wouldn’t need immediately for the porter to take. I took my small black camelback backpack for water, snacks, and rain gear, and Jay carried my backpack with his water, rain gear, and boots.
Once we sorted our bags, we were told it was time to meet with our guides. We also met a German couple named Klous and Marina that would be joining us on the trek. A fifth South African man, named Thomas, also joined us in the morning.
We started with three guides – Sam, who hiked with Thomas, Robert, who hiked with the German couple, and Henry who was our guide. A fourth guide, named Amos, joined us on day 2 and a fifth guide, named Remeju, joined us on the 5th day right before the summit hike. So, on summit day each of us had our own personal guide.
The guides went through the 8 day trek on the map with us and answered all of our questions. I was not planning on summiting Margarita Peak, but the guides said that if I had the determination, then they could get me up there. We’ll see how I’m feeling when we get a little closer.
After meeting with the guides, Jay and I took our last shower for the next 8 days. Then we carbo-loaded with a pasta dinner, and went to bed early so that we would be ready to start the trek in the morning.