Heather and Mist
4.5 miles to 12,000 ft. - 9 hrs including lunch
It was hard leaving Shira Camp. Our private section was so incredibly cozy and the flowers and the view were Heaven, but the promise of a new landscape ahead beaconed, so we packed and stood on the side of the trial for 40 minutes waiting for our token slow-in-the-morning group member to extract herself from her tent. This would become a familiar morning ritual.
The trail climbs up immediately, a bit steeper than yesterday's hike. Almost immediately we are out of the jungle and in a land that is completely unfamiliar. Strands of grey-green moss hang from the trees, picking up the moisture from the 11 am clouds that come in at a rapid pace. You can see this large white wall approach at an amazing speed and suddenly you are in the mist, only able to see the closest heather growing at your feet and at arm's length. That section of trail was one of the most impressive moments on the trip. Incredibly unique to us and beautiful.
The trail evolves into a rocky hike with a bit of scrambling that we enjoyed but other group-mates found less favorable. As we love to rock climb, this was fun for us. Some of the scrambling was just 3 foot climbs, but at such a high altitude, everything is much harder than anyone was used to.
In the mist, before you know it, a million colorful tents start to appear. What we were to learn was our least favorite camp was in front of us. Our actual dislike comes from a lack of privacy. It is like public camping of the olden days where you have the open field and you each park a tent right up next to another one. If you click on the photo below that shows all the tents, you can see a larger photo. It was not terrible, so much as the other camps were nicer for our group.
None of the staff were forced to sleep outside like some companies do to their employees. It was important to us that the staff be treated well which is why we chose this company.