Trip Journal – Kilimanjaro Day 7

Trip Journal – Kilimanjaro Day 7 – Tuesday, June 21, 2016 – Summit Mweka Camp (10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (5,420 ft)

I woke up feeling like a new person. We had our final ‘wash’ in the water bowls and suited up for our final trek to the gate.

After breakfast we had our ceremony with the whole group.  Tim and I thanked them all for making this an experience of a lifetime for us, and especially to Amos and Frank for being leaders and taking such good care of us.  Tim gave Frank his ski gloves since Frank never seemed to have gloves. And he gave Amos a light pair of gloves that he could use while taking pictures with iPhones.  We thanked each of the porters and gave them their tip.

Amos led the group in the Kilimanjaro song. It was a cool celebration and we were all in great spirits. I would never forget these guys and what they had done for us.

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We set off on our last hike. My knees were much better today – not 100% but much much better than the prior day. We were well dressed for the muddy hike with our rain gear and gaiters. We were now back in the rain forest and it was beautiful.  Frank advised to take longer strides when we could and boy that felt good to stretch my aching hips. We were moving at a good pace today.

A few random times along the trail we had come across stretchers, used for injured or ill climbers. On the path down we passed a few stretchers with wheels – the Kilimanjaro Express I think they are called. I could not imagine riding down the rocky trail in one of these. Frank told us in his early years of climbing Kili he was a porter and then a Rescue Ranger. He demonstrated how you use one of these stretchers.  Very impressive!

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Eventually we hit a road!  And then an ambulance went by us.  And just like that we were at the gate!  We had made it safe and sound.  We were elated!

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Tims week old beard!  Ryan thought he looked like Harrison Ford!

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We changed into some dry clothes and boarded the bus with our porters and guides.  The parking lot was a zoo!

IMG_0334IMG_0331IMG_3206We made one stop to buy some souvenirs and after a 2 hour drive we were back to the African Tulip. Amos presented our certificates for climbing to the Summit!

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First in order was checking in and the best shower of my life!!!  By this time I had not washed my hair in 7 days and had not brushed it for the last 2. Once it rained and got wet, it was a lost cause.  I was surprised to see that my hair was not as gross as I expected under those circumstances. But I was dirty!!  The shower felt sooo good. It was some real work getting the dirt out from my fingernails.

After the shower was the celebratory cocktails and food and FaceTime with the family. Tim had ordered fries and chicken wings and I added a pizza. I wished we had a scale because I thought we both had gotten thin.  We realized how much the altitude had suppressed our appetite. We had been eating 3 meals/day plus protein bars but pretty small portions and burning  a ton of calories with hiking.  The food and drinks were good and we were still hungry at dinner.  The view from our room at the African Tulip was beautiful!

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Sleeping in a real bed that night felt so awesome.

The next day we had planned as a rest day before heading out on a 3 day safari. It was such a nice relaxing day and the Tulip is a beautiful small boutique hotel. I updated Facebook and the blog and it was great to talk to the kids.  We were really missing them!

 

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