On Our Way
9 miles to 10,000 ft. - 6 hrs including lunch
The tin roof triangle of an entrance marks the beginning of the hike. People at the gate sell walking sticks (literally sticks, not metal poles) for about $10 for 1 or $15 for two. Another item for sale is a poncho or pack cover. If you do not have a poncho already this is your last chance - our one regret was not having a poncho and instead lugging heavy rain gear each day.
Mostly flat or slightly uphill, we hiked the access road for a while (we thought we were on the trail). Once on the trail, the foliage thickens and moss covered trees create green and gray walls along the path. Part way up we were met with the typical A&K hospitality of a picnic table with chairs and a full meal packed by the Mount Meru Game Lodge. Each day we would be met half way with a picnic table or in colder weather, a meal tent enclosing the tables and chairs. We did not notice any other group with this luxury and now understood why our trip cost more (and why we were glad we saved for years to do it this way).
Our hike ended at a private section of the Machame camp complete with a dinner tent and a private portable outhouse and toilet. Soup and dinner in the dining tent were beyond imagination for camping grub; it was first rate. We were made to feel at home. One group member really made herself at home when she brought a battery operated white noise machine - kid you not - that ran all night. We requested distance from that machine at future camps!