WE MADE IT!!! We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro… well halfway 🙂 This time around going to Mount Kilimanjaro was way different! For starters we actually did some climbing this time and had quite the workout along the way. I was so excited for the hike, but also a little nervous at the same time! I knew that it was going to be a tough day, but I also knew that it would be so worth it… and trust me it was!!!
Climbing was both so exciting and such a challenge all at the same time. It was a lot of mind over matter, especially when we could see a steep part ahead and just knew that we were about to be climbing it! Even though it was the most difficult hike I have ever done, it was at the same time the most rewarding. I was really proud of myself and of everyone else for accomplishing the hike and for accomplishing it together. To have experienced it with the people I did made the day that more special!
One of my favorite parts about the hike (besides the finish!) was running into people who had already made it to the top and were on their way back! They said that the summit was incredible and gave us encouragement to make it to the top… we didn’t correct them when they thought we were going all the way 🙂 Another one of my favorite parts was the view from halfway up the mountain. We literally ate lunch in the clouds! I went from being so sweaty and so hot, to way too cold! Just looking around at the view and being with everyone will be something I will always remember and stand out as one of my greatest memories from the trip.
I was not sure that I was going to go on the hike at first. I did not think that everyone would want to go on a five hour hike. I have a bad knee and was worried about it. Once I found out that mostly everyone was going, I decided to go. That way, I would be able to say that I climbed part of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the tallest single mountain in the world. One thing that we did that I did not know I was going to do is that we had to carry our lunches and water up. I only grabbed one big water bottle because I knew that I would not drink that much.
The climb up took less time than expected. I was in the last group because I wanted to pace myself and my knee was hurting. It was totally worth it though. I also got a little dizzy toward the top. It took us about two and a half hours when it was expected to take three hours. I climbed by myself a lot of the hike because the people in front of me were too fast, and the people behind me were a little bit too slow for my liking. I loved how green it was, and the path was pretty nice. I liked how we were in the shade so we did not have to worry about getting sun burned. It was cool so I ended up putting on my hooded shirt. It was a weird feeling to be cold and be sweating at the same time.
On the way down, I tagged along in the back again. I had a good chat with Teacher Kristin on the way back, and that was enjoyable. It was a little bit hard on my knee on the way down. I managed to slip twice and fell once on each leg. Once we got back, some of the group was looking at the waterfall, so I just relaxed. On our way down to the vehicle, there was a boy who was holding a lizard and wanted me to take a picture of it. We gave him some food, and he seemed to like that. Overall, I think that it was a great experience and I got some good photos. It was also fun to see the crater. The change of scenery was amazing.
We finally achieved our dream of summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro…almost. Halfway counts, right? The trails were beautiful as we climbed, surrounded by green forest, trickling streams, and people I’ve grown to consider my brothers and sisters. I cherished the time we had together, even as my legs grew sore from the climb. Upon arrival at the first hut, we enjoyed eating lunch in a cloud. It was both amazing and a bit chilly. We huddled for warmth so no worries. The hike back down was uneventful (at least as uneventful as a hike down a mountain can be), but we did manage to make a quick stop at a waterfall, leaving just enough time for the crazy ones (*cough* Devin *cough* Sam) to take a dip in the frigid pool. Now that I’ve had a taste of the mountain, I must come back and complete the journey. Hopefully the rest of my awesome group can join me!
So it is about 11 pm, we leave in a few hours to go on a day hike of Mount Kilimanjaro! For me this trip is bitter sweet. I’m excited to climb the mountain but I am missing what would have been my last lesson with my form 2 students. I have also been dealing with a cough and stuffy nose, which will hopefully get better before we leave. Since we haven’t actually climbed the mountain yet I thought that I would talk about my feeling before hand and then comeback tomorrow and talk about how it was.
As of right now I’m just hoping to make it through the day without breaking any bones or getting super sick. I am a fairly clumsy person; I manage to trip over air so climbing a mountain could be a bit challenging for me. I really just don’t want to get half way through the climb to have to come back down or not be able to continue with everyone else. I think this is a great start to climbing the Seven Summits even though I’m fairly certain that it will never happen, I can pretend for a few hours tomorrow.
So the ride to Kilimanjaro was like most of our extended car rides, chit-chat and listening to music with an underlying sense of excitement because of the uncertainty about what we were going to experience. Once we got there we were excited to start, after the mandatory group photo, we were on our way.
The hike started off with a steady slope, nothing too steep. I think that gave me a false sense of security. I was soon met with a rude awakening; the steady slope quickly became a steep hill of rocky steps. About half way up I was starting to question why on earth I had been looking forward to this torture. I also started to question if I would even make it to our lunch spot. The one thing I kept reminding myself was that I was on freaking Mt. Kilimanjaro!! HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THAT!?
I eventually made it to lunch and had a chance to catch my breath. After lunch we took a side hike to see a crater in a mountain and then started our decent. The path down was much nicer to me than the way up but the nap on the ride home was the best. All in all it was a great day, exhausting and trying, but great.