In the nineteenth century, when a battle to find the Holy Grail of all explorers-the source of the Nile, the most concrete track was almost two thousand years old, a map of the Greek geographer Ptolemy. Because it marked the Equatorial glaciers Luna Monte in the heart of Africa. For centuries, the mountains have become a legend with a monthly, no one from the Europeans is seen again, no one knew where they were. Though today we know their location and climbers climbed the their treacherous swamps and Equatorial glaciers, local a strange landscape, plants such as primeval and jungle in the US still arouses astonishment. They say the Rwenzori “cradle of rain” and his name remain shrouded in clouds of mystery.
“It’s raining and there’s still all the way you’ll Wade through swamps. You can fit up to waist-deep. Are you ready for this? “he warns me the owner of the Uganda agency before paying ungodly price your weekly adventure. Not in vain they locals Bakondžo say “the cradle of the rain”, he says before a single day would be here at least once a nezapršelo. Together with night Frost, tough terrain or inaccessibility of any assistance in the event of an emergency, it is nothing to worry about.
D1-Kilembe Sine hut
Today goes out only five aliens, others go just short treks. I didn’t expect to see more companies, due to the complexity of the terrain are not even today a large tourist attraction and Rwenzori statistics indicate that it is for the whole year to overwhelm so people like Kilimadžáro in a single day. As soon as I cross the latch, the landscape is radically changing, from cultivated I to rain mountain forest. Is a magical, unspoiled, around me are ferns and shrubs, MOSS-overgrown trees and above the sky covering the Crown of centuries-old giants. They said the elephants and leopards, chimpanzees or endemičtí and Western three-horned-mountain chameleon. I’m lucky to plachou an antelope in the krone and bushbuck swinging monkey black-white guarézu. I beat a few either rivers, but is otherwise quite a relaxing stretch today “the warm up”. Kempujeme in a wooden hut Sine (2580 m) on a narrow ridge, with views from one side into the endless forest and the other side of me takes a short walk to idyllic waterfall. In the evening, build a fire and gazing into the gleaming jets tell one another’s experiences.
D2 Sine hut-hut Mutinda
The second day begins with a sharp pitch, several hours during which I will leave the rainforest, I pass the bamboo zone, and in roughly 3100 meters to get to the zone of the giant vřesů. Here it is necessary to take off the boots and boots from their guides vyfasuji Bata, in which me now waiting a few more days. The mud is here, but rather I feel the incredible beauty of the surrounding landscape. With us Heather grow up so a maximum of 1 meter, here are ten metres and are covered with MOSS. Turns is the twisted branches of rhododendrons and třesalek and sometimes I will reward and blooming orchid. The trail changes from a soft forest substrate on the finished the obstacle course. Rock rotates rock, the stream again and back up it is necessary to climb the ladder.
My excitement culminates when we encounter the first Grove of giant lobelek (lobelia). Lobelky along with starčkem (senecio) called the Swedish botanist Olov Hedberg “Botanical high game ‘ and with her by because they are one of the main reasons for my journey. Their surprising shape is the result of adaptation to a very hard environment, where each day as if it were summer with high ultraviolet radiation and cold each night with a deep freeze. In addition to thermal insulation must be able to also manage plants with water, as well as Succulents in the desert. The water here is not rare, but at night it freezes up and by day they turn too quickly evaporates. Although lobelky and starčky grow on other sufficiently high African mountains, just in Ruwenzorách is their densest vegetation, the most beautiful and highest, reaching up to 8 metres. Like Alice in Wonderland feel even in the camp of the other night Mutinda (3688m), which is under a rock overhang, surrounded by the strangest vegetation, including giant wild carrot and he lives in the country and the giant earthworm reaching up to one meter. Tonight I say goodbye with the last spolucestovateli, the rest of the trek with a team of only attending one of my helpers.
D3 Mutinda hut-Bugata
The third day I walk into a true afro-alpine zone, which is above 4000 meters. It is characterized by the podmáčenými Plains, wetlands and swamps, slatinami. Here I really fit boots, the easiest is to jump from one grassy Island to the other. But where it does not go there I’m sinking into the mud, which I occasionally overflowed and inside, over the edge of gumáků. Each step is duelling, and suffering. The reward are the views of the steep peaks, spacious green meadows, streams with copper red-colored water, clear lake, small waterfalls and trees in the starčků field. Unfortunately there are but also see the results of climate change. Warming and the decline of rainfall resulted in a terrifying fire in the year 2012, which destroyed much of the vegetation. Also today, the largest glaciers of Africa area 1, 5 km square (in 2005), is just a memory of what used to be in the year 1906 with 7.5 km. Where there was once led, I see now just bare rocks. Today, live in the camp at Lake Bugata in which reflected Weismanns Peak (4620m), which is the aim of my ring and my goal tomorrow.
D4 Bugata-Weismanns Lake peak and back
The stretch from the Lake to the peak is the most beautiful of Weismanns my route. The area around the glacial lakes is densely overgrown with lobelkami and starčky, around the towering majestic rocks and everything is beautifully reflected in their quiet levels. Once I get to the rock, it begins to snow, incoherent deploying back hiking boots and warm gloves, šplhám around ledopádů and vzívám gods, to be merciful to the vision, to ascend to the top. Finally, at the top, the weather is changing every minute, even though at one point is around the Milky fog, in the second the clouds become. The view is breathtaking and frosty. In the fierce sheet beneath me is my route in the East of Uganda and Congo, Virunga National park, and hereinafter referred to as the endless forests of the Congo basin in the West. Separates is 120 km long Ridge Rwenzor, which are in contrast to the higher standing of extinct volcanoes Mount Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya is also the only real mountains of East Africa are now seven mountains over 4000 metres. In front of me is a world of eternal ice with the panorama of all the highest peaks of the Rwenzor: Mt Baker (4844m), Mt Saint Helens (4890m) and Mt itself. Stanley, (top of Margarita 5109m)-the third highest mountain in Africa.
From here, the path leads back down. “Why is Rwenzorám actually says the monthly mountain?” on the last day of the descent of Robert. “It’s raining here for days, the sun never you can’t see, but some nights are clean, so the Moon is the only thing you can see from the sky.” he explains. Certainly, only at night, when the clouds recede, must also be seen from the foothills of the peak of the iceberg. I imagine that probably was the ancient name of Monte Luna when their silver shine traders watched under a full moon with ivory and swelling. They could not be sure whether this is a real mountain, or just an optical illusion. I at night, before I go, I’m waiting for that, I will allow one last look at the mountains their silver peaks. I do not see but again nothing but the overcast sky. Rwenzori me door. And actually, when I think of the surreal landscape that I went through in the past days, I’m not even sure if I it was not just a dream.
Rwenzori – practical information from the year 2014:
Trek in the Rwenzorách it is possible to pass only with licensed local agency and not a cheap affair, it is necessary to count approximately 200USD/person/day. Specific prices please refer to the personal webpage of agencies, see below. In addition to their sum must be added to the entry fee and gratuity to all personnel. The price cannot be bypassed or cut.
There are 2 trails:
-Central circuit, which operates the www.rwenzorimountaineeringservices.com
-Trail Kilembe, operated by www.rwenzoritrekking.com
I chose the latter mainly because of the convenient prices for individuals and better references on TripAdvisor. The service has been really cool, sleeping in cabins or tents, full Board with really a sufficient amount of food, medium and 2 guides. The guides were helpful and claimed to be able to get anyone on a Margarita without previous experience with the movement of the glacier. I just went to the six-day trek to Weismann peak, which is pure trekking.
Facilities: all rain-boots can be secured in place, all clothing, raincoats and waterproof for backpacks and plenty of bags to protect clothing and sleeping bags. Sleeping pad or tent is not necessary. It’s freezing at night, so warm/down jacket, fleesky, thermal underwear, etc. Enough batteries into the camera on the entire route, there is no electrical system. Every day it is possible to wash your face, teeth and hands in lavoru with boiled water. Other personal effects and first aid kit.
The biggest risk represents the altitude sickness, particularly if you go above 3500 m., trails are maintained, but the seats are really “adventure” (wet rocks, overcoming the chasm on the moss covered with ladders, either wading rivers, etc.) and not for weak character. Last but not least you need to be really mentally hedge against the rain, and even if it didn’t rain too, I’m sure a few days you will wade through mud, what 10-30 cm deep.