Hey everybody!!! After spending the last week on Mount Kilimanjaro, we have returned to the internet to update you all on the reality that all five of us summitted the world famous Mount Kilimanjaro at Uhuru peak. Uhuru peak sits on top of Africa at 5895 meters! There truly is now way to describe the beauty that we witnessed while climbing these last six days. Kilimanjaro is the most majestic piece of nature I (personally) have ever witnessed. The top is still covered with snow and glaciers and the melting creates beautiful mountain streams. The first day we climbed from Machame gate to the Machame campsite. This hike was through the beautiful rainforests that sit near the bottom of Kili. Us being a slower group, we took seven hours to hike to our first camp. It was long after our arrival that we realized the company that scheduled our climb did not pack sleeping bags. Our head guide took two porters back down to the bottom and got 5 sleeping bags. The night was very cold and and something we were not use to after the hot Tanzanian weather that we've witnessed this last month. The next day we hiked up to the Shira campsite which took us, again, longer than we expected. This hike put us above the clouds and the sunscreen became a necessity. The ability to see over the clouds and into the horizon was absolutely stunning. We were fed good food each morning and night and the cook prepared a sack lunch for us during each hike. The next day was rough day in general. We went to Lava tower which is a high point that allowed us to climatize. After Lava tower we descended down to camp on a very long hike that banged up our knees, feet, and legs. We were very happy to arrive and we all slept well after a good supper. The next day brought us to Barafu, the base camp. There were a lot of ups and downs and the scenery was, again, beautiful. Our time of arrival at Barafu base camp was supposed to be around 2:00 pm, but instead, we arrived at 6:00, ate supper at 7:00, got in the tents around 9:00 and woke up around 10:00 to prepare for our summit...yes, that means only one hour of sleep. We departed at 11:00 for Uhuru peak, and I don't think any of us knew the work we were in for. Nausea, dizziness, and hallucinations were all a part of the summit day for most of us. However, our head guide assured us that it was completely normal. Freddy, our head guide has climbed Kili 607 times at the age of 45, he's an amazing man. We all ended up splitting up because of our different paces. We were all able to witness the sunrise over the horizon which was absolutely amazing, no matter how sick we were. We all got pictures at different times with our separate guides and we all met each other at different times during our overlapping ascents and descents. Happiness swelled amongst the group as we all realized that we had just summitted the highest point on the continent of Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world! A two hour descent brought us back to Barafu where we were able to nap and eat for a short while before we descended down to Mweka camp. That hike took around 3-4 hours and needless to say we all ate and slept well. Yesterday, we made the 3 hour hike down to the end gate and received our certificates of summit! The tour company brought us back to the office where they distributed our t-shirts and where we begin our celebration. After the office, we returned to Neneu hotel to rest and continue the celebration. Although tired, the adrenaline last night was amazing. Today, we have checked out of Neneu and are waiting at the office ready to be taxied to the Kilimanjaro airport 40 minutes away around 5:00 p.m (the time now is 1:00 p.m.). We'll fly out at 8:00 p.m. and arrive in Minneapolis at 12:15 on July 2nd. Angela will fly into Denver around 3:30 in the afternoon. We are all excited to have our reunions, share stories, catch up, show pictures, and just be at home!
For now, Kwa Heri! But soon, Tutaonana! (Goodbye, but we will see each other soon)