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Monkeys, Lava Bombs and Kilimanjaro


A landscape is shown strewn with rocks piled on top of each other.

Very early Friday morning, we heard the Colobus monkeys screaming and howling.  We awoke to find a Blue Monkey visiting our camp and checking us out.  We left Big Tree camp to a rousing African Omani mix of songs.  Soon we would be at our first protocol destination, a site within the rainforest.  Once we arrived there we divided into groups.  We took atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere measurements.  Once completed we began to transition from rainforest to moorland.  This had heather growing tall, as a scrub... very interesting.  We also saw sage, just like in Boulder as I hike there.  It also had the same smell.  As we continued on the hike we arrived at another stream where we stopped for more measurements.  We climbed up to our lunch site where there was a hot lunch awaiting us.

Lava bombs, some huge, some small lay strewn around the ground as if someone had cast marbles (little balls of various sizes) across the landscape.  These had been projected through the air when the volcano erupted.  As they flew through the air they began to cool, and cooled into their current round shape when they hit the ground.  Short plants were the dominant feature of life here.  In some areas, people had stacked the smaller bombs into cairns. 

Our destination on this day was Shira 1, at 3500 m.  As we approached the camp we transitioned into an area where the heather was really short and much reduced in size.  When we arrived at the camp, a rousing chorus from the porters met us and the Omani students and teachers joined in.

Tents in the foreground with a mountain in the background.

What a sight from our campsite... we could see Kilimanjaro... with its remaining glaciers. When we first arrived the peak was covered in clouds, but as the evening went on the clouds lifted to show its glaciers.  Soon as the temperature dropped and night approached we could see stars, but not many as a full moon was a night or two away.  Another great dinner and we were ready for the next day.

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