Monday, 1 February 2016

12 Jan 16, Climbing Mt Stanley, Ruenzori Mountains, Uganda - Day 2 Sine Camp to Mutinda Camp

Day 2 Sine Camp (2580m) to Mutinda Camp (3688m), 7.4 km, 7 hours

I had a very disrupted sleep with people continuously getting up to got to the toilet in the night. It was nice listening to the rivers on either side of us. At 0715 I packed and had some coffee while waiting for breakfast. I was impressed when it arrived as it was porridge followed by a huge plate of omelet, sausage, toast and banana. At 0900 we were off up a narrow ridge in the rain forest and then we moved into the bamboo zone which I always enjoy for it being so different to what I am used to. The track was in good condition with only a few muddy patches but was quite steep in places. We had been following Anne Marie going up and resting frequently but once we were in the open we swapped places and went in front, picking up the speed we walked but stopping periodically to let her catch up. I was still feeling strong and having no issues.

Fresh and keen for another day
Just comparing base kits. The little black bag is mine.
No easing into the day, straight up

And up

Love the moss in the trees

Transitioning into the bamboo zone

One of the few muddy bits but nice bridges to keep the shoes clean

Definitely some steeper bits though there may be a slight exaggeration by Err.

Fully into the bamboo now
Having a great time

We then climbed out of the bamboo to an area which was much clearer and we had great views back down to the valley we started at. In this zone there were several types of pretty flowers and the track remained in good condition. We reached Kalalama Camp at around 1030 and while this was where we were originally going to have lunch. Instead we took a break then continued on.

Into the open with some lovely views

In awe at the weight the porters carry and make it look easy.

These are two of the general porters, as opposed to the personal porters who carry our base kits and look after us

These are Everlasing Flowers

Kalalama Camp (3134m)
Now we climbed into some beautiful mossy forest that had balls of moss on the trees then straggly moss hanging off the branches. As we started to go back down again the track started getting more muddy. We dropped to a steam with a beautiful waterfall surrounded by orange moss before climbing a ladder back out of the gully. As we dropped down into some trees it started raining again so I put my rain pants on and attached my umbrella to my pack. Once we were in the trees it was very misty creating an atmospheric surrounding.

Porters heading up after a break

Here comes my porter, very happy with me and my little basekit.
The mist started coming in and 10 minutes later the rain started.
Porters taking a break
Anne Marie at the first of many ladders today

Once we crossed over a stream we were told it was time for lunch and to put our gumboots on as we were now entering the mud. Lunch was a roll, apple and fruit juice and I was happy eating under my umbrella. I swapped my inner soles from my boots to my gumboots. I was a bit apprehensive about hiking for long period in gumboots and figured at least my feet were used to innersoles so that would reduce some of the potential issues. While we were waiting I headed upstream for some privacy to go to the toilet only to discover that the porters took a different route than us and what was off our track was their highway. They have a different understanding of privacy and were very interested in what I was doing, much to my discomfort. When I finished my audience carried on and I walked back to the group only to discover it was deserted. This was not a successful toilet venture. I had clearly told the guide where I was going so was a little annoyed. Not being sure exactly where the track was I caught back up to the porters and eventually the tracks joined together and I found the group.
Now we were walking through a beautiful, strange boggy area full of fascinating vegetation. There were different types of Lobelia and Centosa and other things I have no idea what they were called. It was beautiful and we stopped frequently for photos.

This guy carried the planks all the way to Bugata Camp. They were needed for maintenance. The National park rules are no wood is to be cut so all wood is carried up.

After less than a km of this we were heading back into trees up a steep slope with several ladders to help us to climb. At the top while waiting for the others I was loving the strange shaped trees with big balls of moss in the mist. We then broke out into the open again and had a boardwalk to help us across the bog.

Once off the boardwalk and though some mud we followed a stream, having to boulder hop in many places before another steep climb, complete with ladders until we passed a hut (for the porters) and came around the corner to see a massive overhang. This is where our camp was, under the overhang in neat half round tents.

Different coloured Everlasting flowers

The start of the streambed and boulder hopping

Our camp for the night under the massive overhang

Porters on one side and our tents behind them

We arrived at 1600 and I was a little tired. After rearranging the mattresses and having a hot drink I explored the toilet. This was the most dangerous part of the journey so far. It was on a boardwalk but many planks were broken or uneven, slippery and in parts steep. It was about 40 meters but not a walk I would want to do in the dark. The toilet itself had no door and I could see the guys walking around at the cave. It had a plastic cover for the hole which was unusual. There was a larger, though still very small for a female to aim into, hole at the back and a tiny hole at the front.

Definitely an adventure to get to this toilet and use it.

Home for the night.

Loved the views from camp, across a valley to these  tall hills
The porters took away our wet weather trousers and boots to clean for us and started a fire. We sat around the fire talking and had dinner delivered there. I felt sorry for a couple who were in the little tent by the fire in what they probably imagined was a nice private spot above our tents, only to discover us all move outside their tent for the night as that is where the fire is. Luckily they were very good about this. They were doing a 5 day walk and climbing Mt Wiseman the next day. The German couple we shared camp with yesterday were also leaving us tomorrow and taking a different track. We had all been offered an optional climb to a peak above the camp but we were all tired. Only the German lady, who was 60 years old, had the energy to do it, though she would do it in the morning.

Dinner was soup, rice and chicken and a hot drink. It was very nice and very big portion. I created a hot water bottle for myself by putting the hot water from the flask into my water bottle and it was lovely at my feet in my sleeping bag. We all went to bed at around 2000 though I decided it was a little early so I read a bit before going to sleep.


  1. I always get thrilled and excited to read about traveling and hiking and when it comes to trails, I just love it. Thanks for sharing your story in detail and I liked all the pictures.

    1. One of the reasons I write is so those that are unable to travel to these places, or at the current time, for various reasons can join me on my journeys so I am glad you enjoyed it.