The Lemosho Route is said to be the most beautiful route for a variety of reasons. The primary reason being that it is the longest and therefore it travels through many different micro climates. We start at the extreme west end of the park and travel almost to the east end of the park.
The beginning of the route starts at the Londorossi Gate. The zone is the forest mountain zone and it is lush, full of all sorts of plants and trees. The route itself beings going up immediately, though it does have its small moments of going down. It is, after all, mostly a traverse.
The guides flank us at the front and the rear so we don’t get lost or off track(in theory). But, it also means that they get to set the pace. Polle, polle is the term we hear most often. It translates to slowly, slowly and they’re serious. I feel a little bit badly for two of the members of the team. One is in his early 20s and is a trail runner. The other is in his 30s and has done trekking as a hobby. Polle, polle it is, however. Still, it prevents us from over exerting ourselves, which is dangerous for high altitude climbs.
We benefited from the long drive in that it took us to a starting point that was already relatively high. This mean that it was not blistering hot like it was in Moshi. This did not mean that we did not sweat of course. But rather we did not sweat as much. This also meant that we skipped the first of five ecological zones, the lower farming region. Instead, we begin our trek in the more lush mountain forest which was gorgeous. We passed quite a bit of flora that I don’t recall seeing before.
There is a reason for the lushness, however. It’s due to rain. And even though it is not the rainy season, rain does keep things green (as it does in Oregon). Alas, we did hit a small section of rain which required us to get out our rain gear. This was particularly stinging for me. For to start an 8 day trek in the rain and mud meant that I was going to be filthy from the get go.
Fortunately for us the rain abated when we hit the first camp of Mti Mkubwa. But even though the rain had stopped didn’t mean that things weren’t wet. And since we got such a late start in the day, it mean that I had to squeeze Mass in. The porters were very helpful in helping getting things set up, but only a priest has the knowledge to set up the altar. That took a little time.