Day 2 was a short trek. Well, to be honest, none of the days except the summit day were what I would call long days. The guides told uis that we were strng walkers and made it from camp to camp in very good time. This wasn't because our walking pace was too fast - we walked at the same 'pole-pole' rate that most people walk at - we just didn't take many breaks at all.
From Machame Hut up to Shira Cave is a fairly steep, rocky trail, surrounded by heather growth smothered in moss. Pretty atmospheric and totally different to the previous days trek through the forest.
Some of the more interesting plants we had looked forward to seeing, like Lobelia deckenii and Dendrosenecio kilimanjari, started to appear on day two, but more about those later. I don't want to bore you to sleep yet.
When we reached Shira Cave camp it was totally different to Machame Hut. A large open expanse of dark ground, on a slight slope with amazing views to the west. Amazing views as soon as the cloud had cleared that was. Mount Meru was the star of the show.
We took a short acclimatisation walk with Aloyce, one of our 3 excellent guides. Shira Cave is not as impressive as we'd hoped. It was probably the only geographical feature on the mountain that disappointed.
In fact, on this occasion, some man made features outshone mother natures efforts. The whole mountain was dotted with small cairns and towers of stones, built by tourists in some spiritual or other effort to leave their small impression on this enormous volcanic landscape.
Day 3 coming soon!!