When we got out of bed, it was very cold outside. Crystal had been up since 11:30pm, trying to get back to sleep, without any luck. We got ready and then headed down to breakfast. The only thing of note was the avocados they had, which tasted much sweeter than the avocados in California and Hawaii. After breakfast we did our final round of packing and re-arranging and final charges of batteries.

We headed out of the hotel with Aaron and Joseph around 8, and got to the Londorossi gate (which is the entry gate for people taking the Lemosho route) at around 10. We had chosen to go up the Lemosho route since it was reknowned for being both very interesting and varied in terms of its scenery and also for being the best at acclimatizing the guests. It is one of the longer hikes, but we had the time, and wanted to increase our odds of acclimatizing as much as possible. On the drive to the gate, there were some potential good views of Kilimanjaro, but they were all blocked by clouds. We figured we'd eventually see the mountain, and just hoped they weren't rain clouds. We did see a couple colobus monkeys along the way, however.

We hung out for awhile at Londorossi while the crew was filling out paperwork. They weigh all of the gear to help ensure people aren't overworked and also to make sure people don't leave trash (they weigh again at the bottom). While waiting, we talked with Aaron about the planned road through the Serengeti - he thought it unnecessary. Hopefully it never gets built, as it would seriously screw up all of the migratory animals. As part of the paperwork, we had to sign a waiver for the Western Breach, stating that we had been made aware of how dangerous it was. Also, they didn't like the plastic bottles, so we had to transfer water to our water bottles, and leave the plastic behind.

After leaving Londorossi, there was a short drive to the actual Lemosho trailhead, over rough road. Lots of the forest (outside the national park) had been cleared for crops. People were growing carrots, potatoes, along with timber. Apparently the vegetables do well until the trees get too tall. Around one bend in the road there was a crazy looking cactus, but we didn't manage to get any photos. We got to the Lemosho "parking lot" around 12:15, but we had to wait a bit since the porters were on a different vehicle that couldn't make it as far down the road. While waiting, Joseph told us the 4 golden rules - 1) pole pole (walk slowly), 2) sippy sippy(drink lots of water), 3) eat eat (to have energy for walking), and 4) communicate (let him know if there were any issues). There wasn't much around the parking lot except for a couple dirtbikers and a couple of ravens, black with white throats.

The porters showed up a bit after 1pm, and they had lunch with them. Lunch was sandwiches, potato chips, yogurt and OJ. We finally got on the trail around 2pm, walking out of the parking lot and into the forest. From the first uphill, it was excruciatingly slow, probably right at half of our usual pace from our training hikes. Joseph was in front, setting the pace, with Crystal behind him, then Justin, and then our second guide, Alexi. The pace was absolutely mind-numbing, and driving both of us insane. We passed the time by talking about Tanzania and some of the things Justin had read in his book - Julius Nyere (the first president of Tanzania), ujaama (his plan for having collaborative farms all over the country), and why socialism failed. Along the path there were some stinging nettles, like we had seen in Rwanda in 2007. We saw some plant that looked like a Dombeya, and may have actually been a Dombeya or a close relative.

We got to camp around 4:45, and the whole crew had a song and dance waiting for us, but we didn't want to seem too American and stop watching with our eyes to film it [in hindsight, we should have filmed it, oh well]. We had ascended from 2360 meters (7742 feet) to 2895 meters (9498 feet). At the campsite we had a shower tent (gravity shower with hot water) and a separate bathroom tent. Zachio, the camp manager, had laid out some bowls with hot water and soap. After getting clean, we went into the dining tent and over popcorn we read our Kindles and updated the trip diary. The dining tent always had hot water, and a number of "mixers" - coffee, chamomile tea, black tea, Nido (ground milk), Milo (hot chocolate), Cadbury Drinking Chocolate (like Milo, but probably real chocolate). A little later, dinner was bruschetta, leek soup, fried chicken, potatoes, and bananas. This was fairly standard, as dinner would always start with soup, then there would be a main, a vegetable side, a carbohydrate side, and then dessert (usually some sort of fruit). Talking with Joseph over dinner, Justin asked if we could go faster the next day - "no." Well, so much for that conversation. We were requested to stay awake until 9pm, but we made it only to 8pm.