Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mt. Kilimanjaro (not a long walk)

We had a great adventure last week. The five Fisher's and Myles ascended Mt. Kilimanjaro... along with a team of support. Literally 19 Tanzanians went up the mountain with us, a compilation of guides, porters, and cooks. There are multiple routes up the mountain- ours was the Nalemuru route. It took five days round trip. We walked very slowly the entire way to the top, which seemed silly at first.. but as we reached higher and higher altitudes it began to make more sense. Living at above 7,000 feet in Kijabe for the past few months definitely helped with handling the thin air at 19,000+ feet. Alison and Myles had a little more trouble with the elevation... some sickness, dizziness... but we all made it to the top!

Day 1
Heavy fog, torrential downpours the entire day of hiking. Once we reached our campsite the sun came out and the mountain appeared for the first time. It was a huge relief.

Day 2
Much less rainy. We had a really pretty campsite called "Third Caves". It was sunny and clear by the time we reached camp... and the mountain was right above us!

Day 3

We made our way to School Hut, which was the last campsite before the summit. We slept for a few hours at 15,000 feet, then woke up at 11:30 pm to start the long, hard climb up the steep switchbacks to the top of the crater.

Day 4

I didn't even know that Kili was a crater until I got to the top and saw the "real summit" on the other side of the massive thing. Two hours after reaching Gilman's point, which is the first summit, we reached Uhuru point... at around 8:15am. We were so relieved to finally be done with the UP and to start going DOWN.

Day 5

Our last day on the mountain... I was the only one who woke up sore from the day before, which was strange. This is our team of helpers. It was really cool walking down the mountain, we passed through all kinds of different "environments" as we got lower and lower. All of that downhill was hard on the knees.

We got to stay at a really nice, comfortable hotel in Moshi the night we finished the hike. We had a few rounds of Tusker, Kilimanjaro, and Safari beers before collapsing into bed.

We are all thankful that the weather held up and that everyone made it to the top. I speak for all of us when I say that we were caught a bit off guard by the difficulty of that last day up to the summit. It was HARD. If anyone ever tells you that Kili is just a "long walk" they are lying. My mom claims she was debating whether she would rather give birth or continue climbing up the switchbacks... she decided she'd rather give birth.
But it was fun! And we're happy to be back in Kijabe, preparing ourselves for a nice long week at the beach in Mombasa in just a couple of days...

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