Kilimanjaro Hike

Oh my word, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Where do I even begin? It was amazing!

First off, music and car rides = fantastic; so that was a nice start to the day for me. Second, I was just super pumped that I could climb a portion of the mountain.

When we first arrived, I was just waiting for someone to tell us that we could take a picture and then leave. I would have been very sad and disappointed by this discovery, so I was glad (and still AM glad) that we actually got to climb it.

The walk started off very brisk and I was surprised by the harata harata approach to the climb, when I had just been informed the day before that climbing a mountain too quickly is a bad idea (altitude sickness). I had a great walk the previous weekend, so I of course over estimated my ability to climb the mountain with semi ease and paid the price for it later.

The first hour wasn’t too bad. I had expected sunshine the entirety of the climb, but we were surrounded by gorgeous trees instead that kept us shaded; so much so, that it felt like I was in a jungle, rather than on a mountain. The only thing that kept reminding me otherwise was the fact that I had to climb mounds of rocks over and over again.

Thankfully, I have a decent amount of leg strength, so climbing up for an hour wasn’t torture; it was just a little tiring.

It wasn’t until hour two that I actually started feeling fatigued and a tid bit whiney. My whole body had felt cold the entire hike up thus far and my legs were just screaming at me to stop using them.

Thankfully, Andrew was a trooper and didn’t abandon me, so I at least had some motivation to trek onward. If I had been left alone to my own thoughts and devices, I definitely would have slowed down and just moseyed up at a sloth – like pace, making sure to curse at every rock and stone the rest of the way.

Thank goodness I wasn’t left alone.

I’m not quite sure how to describe the rest of the hike besides the fact that it was beautiful and tiring all at the same time. I saw a few monkeys, awed at the many, mossy trees, and climbed a freaking awesome mountain.

The last half hour was quite the cruel little (big, actually) thing. Uphill anything just made me want to give up, especially with Andrew bounding up those things like they were nothing. I was on the brink of giving up and laying down to accept my fate when I heard cheering in the distance. That gave me just enough energy to finish climbing that last 3 minutes worth and take a much needed break.

Unfortunately, I was still freezing cold and Brandi had all the lunches and jackets in her backpack, so I just sat there and shivered.

Once food was eaten and Andrews too-big jacket was wrapped tightly around me, we proceeded to hike another 10 minutes to see a crater in the mountain. It was beautiful, but honestly, it didn’t even compare to the Ngorongoro crater so Brandi, Andrew, and I just sat and enjoyed the little bit of sunshine we could get.

After the rest of the group circled the whole crater, we climbed down to the rest of the waiting folk and marched down the mountain in under 2 hours! Woo! Down was a lot nicer than up, in my opinion.

I started toward the back of the group, but quickly got impatient with the pace and worked my way to the front and found myself having a lovely conversation with Andrew and Jane.

It was an amazing climb and decent and even though I can’t say I loved every minute of it, it was still worth it and is definitely something everyone should experience at some point in their lives.

– Amanda Hoezee

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