“Oops – sorry!” H mutters for the umpteenth time as he leaves yet another trail of foul-smelling gas in his wake.
Everyone moans, but keeps on following him in the same single file as we trek through the undergrowth.
It’s become commonplace now. And it’s not just H that’s exploding at frequent intervals – it’s everyone.
There’s something about the altitude that’s making the air in every crevice of each climber’s body expand, seeking the most undignified of exits.
We’ve affectionately called it BONDING.
“Better out than in,” approves our resident doctor, Bex – words which the boys take as immediate encouragement to follow in H’s stinky footsteps.
“Torpedo coming through,” says M.
“Fire in the hole,” says Rambo.
Thankfully, as we turn the next corner, we spot our next campsite on the horizon. And it’s a beauty.
At 4,300 metres, Mawenzi Tarn lies at the foot of striking Mount Mawenzi, complete with an oasis-like pool of water and breathtaking views down the side of the mountain.
It also helps that the sun is shining. Making the most of the rays, we slip off our heavy hiking boots in favour of the fresh air of flip flops. But the sunshine doesn’t last long, and the thermal socks are soon pulled back on as the temperature is driven down by icy cool winds.
As evening sets in, we gather for dinner and gobble down a sensational chicken curry.
It’s H’s birthday, and although we’ve each given him a pat on the back, everyone’s been a bit worried about how to help him celebrate atop of one of the world’s highest mountains minus booze, presents and party food.
But the Tanzania Rift Valley Tours guys are well ahead of us.
As we pile the curry smeared plates on top of each other, the tent flaps open to reveal a bleary ball of yellow light. Candles – and more importantly, cake.
Somehow, with the aid of a campfire and some surprising ingredients, chef David has managed to whip up this sugary treat, decorated to perfection complete with a perfectly lettered birthday message
We’re all high just on the sight of it as we wail out a rendition of Happy Birthday. But the guys soon take over, energetically singing song after song while we nod our heads, cheeks filled with sponge.
How does this Kilimanjaro birthday rate next to others?
“It’s definitely up there.”