Finally down hill, yay! I was so happy to go to bed knowing I would be “getting out of here”. I was already feeling better, but still not good. Anything you did was an effort. Getting up and going to the toilet even! I had hard time falling asleep the night before because I had slept during the day while waiting for the others to return, but did manage to get some sleep. Like always I woke up with the sun and waited for the hot water to arrive so I can get my morning dose of Milo as I was SO hungry.
For the first time during the whole climb up I was actually hungry and it felt good.
Everyone woke up in their due time. This morning we were leaving a bit later around 10 am so we had more time to get ready than normally. I was keen to leave. Not only because I knew we are heading down hill and it can only get easier from here, but also because I knew there are showers at Horombo. Cold showers, but showers nevertheless. I don’t care how cold it is. I’m going there!
We said our goodbyes to the moon-like Horombo camp and the snow capped tip of the volcano and started our ascent. Sun was shining from a cloudless sky and we got some nice shots towards Kibo camp with Ubuntu “girl power” team! (See feature image above post). It was a bit chilly so I did not have my sun hat on, but just a normal hat and sunglasses. Big mistake I learned later!
The path was wide and very long across the saddle between Mawenzi (second highest peak in Kilimanjaro National Park ) and Kibo (highest peak). You could see the moon-like scenery lasting as far as your eyes can see. Then finally the vegetation begins to change and we can see a few bushes.There was clearly more traffic on this side of the mountain than the one we climbed up.
Ubuntu and Ashanti
It didn’t feel like 9,5 kilometers and I had even a bit too much energy. We reached the camp by lunchtime and had the last of our greeting dance with the team. Now everyone was joining the dance again, but the feeling was sad. The time on this magical mountain was coming to an end.
On our team everyone was needed and we could not have done it without them. The cooks, porters, guides. It was a well organized and seamlessly working community and team. I have very high respect to these people who made it possible for us. It makes me sad that now their livelihood is gone with Kilimanjaro National park closed due to Covid-19. Then we did not know yet how bad it will get. Later we heard that we were among the last groups to go up. Team Ubuntu was indeed very lucky!
S-h-o-w-e-r and SMS messages
And then… the long awaited shower! Ice cold, but who cares. Me and Kirsty were brave and went there and it was so good! I cannot overrate how great and refreshing it felt. Funny how little things make you so happy… And a flushing toilet. No more finding suitable bushes or rocks!
Mobile coverage also worked on and off as we were camped on this ridge so I managed to send and receive a few SMS messages. Getting messages from home made me realize how much I missed my children, husband and even the cat! Just normal life felt like luxury now and I could not wait to get home.
Before that we still had one very long day and 18 kilometers ahead of us (well that’s what the guide said), to get to Marangu gate out of Kilimanjaro National Park. After nice shower and hot meal we were all again pretty tired as the day had been again long with 9,5 kilometers down hill. Took a nap, read a book. Somehow the afternoon passed by and it was dinner time again. After dinner I finally watched a movie I had downloaded on my mobile. Until now I had not felt like watching anything, but now I felt better and didn’t think I could anyway fall asleep anytime soon, so watching a movie would be a good pass of time.
View from “space”
When we got to camp (3733 meters altitude) there was quite a few clouds so you could not really see where you were at, but at night when I woke up to go to the toilet the sky was clear and you could see the lights of all the roads, cities and towns below. We were still so high that it felt like you were watching the earth from space. It was so breathtakingly beautiful that I could not go back to sleep, but had to just sit there and keep staring at it for a while with tears flowing thinking about all the lives of the people there how they do not know that I am here staring down at their city from above wondering what they are doing. Thinking how there is so much life on Earth, how these little specs of light indicate where humans wander.
I think it was a bit of unburdening the stress of the journey both physically and mentally as well as missing home. In a way the mountain was both frightening and mesmerizing at the same time. You respect it, wonder it and admire it’s beauty, but still feel like we are here just to visit, this is not our place, we are just passing through.
Finally went back to my tent to sleep being grateful that I had seen that view all alone in the middle of the night. In the morning the clouds were back and we could not see downhill clearly anymore.
Unfortunately I could not sleep too well due to strange feeling on my lower lip which just seemed to get worse and worse… To be continued 😀