Saturday, January 30
Tanzanian law requires that you need an official "outfitter" (mountain guides, porters, etc) to get onto the mountain. Not only does it protect we the trekkers, but also, it gives jobs to Tanzanians. The porters carry the tents and cooking supplies (truly, the heaviest stuff). We carry everything we need between camps. Other than the food we carry during the day, the outfitter provides the food at camp. Typically this means high liquid and carbohydrate content meals. They try to offer fresh seasonal foods when possible (mango, banana, watermelon), and we always have our trusty freeze dried meals (just add water) if needed. Water is treated by boiling. I will also carry iodine and chlorine tablets... just in case. (a case of traveler's diarrhea could be expedition-ending).
In altitude, it is recommended that we drink 4-5 Liters of water per day, and eat lots of food for energy. However, a common symptom of altitude sickness is loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. ...and if you don't eat and drink, the altitude sickness gets worse, etc, etc...
Sadly, stimulants are not recommended at high altitude. So currently, I am in caffeine withdraw (better to deal with fatigue and headaches now than on the mountain). My beloved colleagues at work don't hesitate to tease and temp me with their aromatic mugs of caffeinated paradise... Yup, they're real special.
Posted by Jessica Lazar