Our day today begins with a song, which is performed by Ashard and his team for all of those who climb and summit. Even if you don't summit you have to give this team a lot of respect because they do everything in their power to enable you to succeed.
They do this many times a year and make it look so easy. Most of their kit is donated so they work with what they have. They don't use sports drinks, nutrition bars, etc, etc like most visitors. They do it naturally. It's impressive.
We run into lot of people we have met on the mountain, including Ryan whom we finished the walk down to the gate with. A word here about Ryan. Not only did he let me borrow his spare Buff scarf/covering/all-around-awesome-invent
Finally, after a few hours of trekking, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We see the Mweka Gate. Hurt ankles and knees feel like nothing compared to the fact that we have formally crossed the finish line! :) The trek is really over now. We go to sign ourselves in one last time and so some other formalities and then we are off back to the Springlands hotel \o/ Back to hot water! Back to internet connectivity! Back to hot water! And most importantly, back to hot water! :-D
Back at the hotel, we're clearly exhausted, but we keep it together long enough to get our GOLD Uhuru Peak certificates from Ashard and Abraham in a small ceremony in the courtyard. I have to say that the proof in the hand (besides all of the pics and video) felt really good :-)
So after our ceremony, it's hard to believe that it is all over. I celebrate by taking the longest shower I have ever taken in life. It feels so nice to shower. Hot water feels fantastic! I must have taken 30-45 minutes at a minimum. And then we have lunch at the hotel and I have nap.
After being an object at motion for 7 days, it's time to be an object at rest. Inertia(!) indeed :-)
I don't have wise or insightful things to say just now. I think those will come with time after I have had more time to think about what I have just been through. I am grateful to have had the experience. I am grateful to Christina for organising the adventure and for being my Kili Buddy and friend. I am grateful to Ashard and the staff for their help on the mountain. I am grateful for the people I met along the way. In some way, I am even grateful for the people who didn't think I would make it to the summit because they gave me some of my energy.
And so ends the adventure that was Kilimanjaro.