More of downtown Nairobi
One of my other favorite experiences was the taxi ride. It was actually a taxi bus and we were on our way to the center of Nairobi when we heard something on the radio that sounded a little familiar...were they saying, Barack Obama! It was a fun reggae song about Obama and all Emily and I could do was laugh! As most of you probably know, Barack's father is from Kenya and they all love him there and everyone wants to know if we're going to vote for the "hope of America". Oh boy!
Emily got some great pictures of the flowers and grounds of the Springsland Hotel.
We often enjoyed our morning tea in these beautiful gardens!
I don't think we could have asked for a better backdrop. I swear, it's real! In just five short days, we'd be at the summit!
We drove about an hour to the gate where we signed in, and waited, waited, and then waited some more. We had to wait for our permits or something. All I know is that it was cold and wet. All I wanted to do was get moving! I certainly learned patience during this time. "Hurry up and wait" became a phrase we used often...
Machame Gate, 5,400 feet
As we waited, we had lots of opportunities to take pictures. Emily got one of the warnings posted. It was pretty amusing. I wish everyone would have seen the "Do not litter" part. It was unfortunate that we saw so much trash and especially toilet paper on the trail.
Here are the porters getting everything ready to bring up the trail.
No, this is not where we stayed. We slept in tents, this was just the cabin where we had to sign in to prove we were there. It was kind of neat to look through the roster and see where other people were from. There were certainly a lot of Americans, but there were also a good number of Brits and other Europeans; some South Africans, and a couple from South America.
This is our team, our amazing team!
There we are, me and Ady, we'd made it to Machame Hut Camp at 10,170ft.This picture above shows just how spoiled we were. Every afternoon when we arrived at camp, Robert would bring us warm "Water for Washing". Those of you that know me know I love camping and getting all dirty, but getting to wash every morning and afternoon, well it was heavenly!
After "Water for Washing", we went to our dinner tent and had some yummy popcorn, biscuits and tea. Mmmm! I was hungry!
It was truly amazing and I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat! (even the memory still takes my breath away a little!)
After catching my breath, we continued on a little way to our lunch spot. I think overall, lunches were my favorite meals. Here's Emily digging into some chicken. Mmmm, protein!
Ady, John, Emily and RobertJohn, me, Ady and Emily
Walking on clouds!
Mezmerizing, isn't it?
Shira Hut Camp. As you can see, we weren't the only ones...
Ady, waited for us a the bottom, but now, I think he's ready to go!
As we continued on from the Lava Tower towards Barranco Camp, we ran into these plants, though I don't remember the name. Kind of funny looking, but when you lift up the leaves...
..these beautiful blue flowers are revealed! John showed them to us. He knew EVERYTHING about the Mountain!
A beautiful little waterfall towards the end of our hike for that day
Emily and I had pushed ahead on our way to Karanga Hut.
Groups that hike for 7 days stay the night at Karanga. We pushed through in 6 days so we just stopped for a quick lunch and then continued on our way.
This is a picture of Mawenzi, one of Kilimanjaro's three volcanic cones. Reaching to 16,890ft, it is also dormant and I think would be fun to climb...some day :-)
This is Barafu Camp, our last camp before the summit. The camp was pretty rocky, but we had a great spot for our tent. Wow, butterflies are returning even as I just think about this night! The anticiapation of what the next morning would bring was killing me! I was always at my best when I was hiking. Emily and I arrived more than an hour before Ady and John. Unfortunately, Ady was not doing very well and made the difficult decision not to try for the summit. I was so proud of him for making it as far as he did. He really pushed himself to get to Barafu, well done, friend! Next year, Ady, you'll make it to the top!!
We were over 15,000ft at this point and I was tired! It had been a long day. It wasn't a tough hike by any means, but we started hiking around 8am and by the time we arrived at Barafu, it was 4:30pm. I finally broke out my down jacket for the first time-even with the sun, it was pretty cold.
The glaciers were gorgeous as we got increasingly closer to the top. The sun rising made it spectacular.
Another shot of the sunrise.
Soon after arriving to the gate, and signing in one last time, we loaded into the truck and started back to the Springsland Hotel.
There we were, back at the Springsland Hotel where we met up with John and then Ady joined us a little later. John was all showered and clean since he'd come back down the night before, he cleans up well! Em and I still desperately needed a shower but first our "after" shot! It was bittersweet, returning to the hotel, but isn't it true that all good things must come to an end.
On our way back to the hotel, we had one last view of Kilimanjaro.
I don't quite know how to close this novel of a post, except to say that I have fallen in love with Tanzania. It is such a beautiful country with such incredible people. It is one of my new favorite places and I can't wait to go back! Thank you to everyone who made this trip a wonderful and memorable one.