Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Running Out of Ground - Trekking to the Roof of Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro - Part 5 - Down From the Mountain - Days Eight and Nine

And so, after 16 months of planning, preparing, and participating, the Mt. Kilimanjaro adventure was almost complete. Surprisingly, I did not feel a great sense of personal accomplishment the day after our ascent. I was happy to have made it for sure but my competitive days are long in the past and I wasn't about to be disappointed if my body could not handle the thin air or the rigors of mountaineering. I considered this trip to be a success based only on my acceptance to undertake it and spending quality time with good friends in exotic places. Achieving the top was grand but not the real prize for me. The real prize was being able to share the trip with friends and with Helen. I was really happy for Helen!

Day Eight - Barafu to Mweka Camp

Don W. and Joe A. share a moment the morning after our trek to the mountain top.

Chris H-N. and his future daughter-in-law Lauren K.

Mt. Meru shimmering in the distance from Barafu Camp.

A man and his mountain. How special it was to spend these nine days on 'Kibo.'

As we made our way down, we encountered the evacuation trolleys that take people down the mountain who suffer from AMS.

Back into the heath and moorlands.

Our final nights camp at Mweka. We took a lot of our old gear and donated it to the porters. They had rudimentary equipment to begin with and anything would help them out on their future trips. The head guide made 35 piles of clothes and gear and they took turns picking items.

I've had those polypro socks since the 1970's and here they go to someone who can use them on the mountain next week!

Views of the crew at the celebration.

Hard workers for very little pay.

But always a smile and ever appreciative for what they do have.

The whole crew poses for a picture.

Day Nine - Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate


Back through the forest, the air is rich with oxygen.

These are the same forests that our ancestors knew, millions of years ago. What an incredible thought to think of Australopithicus climbing and walking through these same forests some 3 million years ago.

During the rainy season, this zone is soaked with rainfall.

Giant tree ferns in the forest.

Approaching the Mweks Gate, we locked arms and crossed the line into a trip of memories.

Eighteen hours to the top? Only if the top is the destination.

With Don W. at the Gate.

A cold Safari beer to celebrate Kilimanjaro! Thanks to Chris H-N for the idea. I think next time we are targeting a trip to a beach in Mexico!

4 comments:

Stacy Statham said...

Most excellent Wayne and Helen. Congrats!

Garry Hayes said...

Absolutely fascinating! I appreciate the extensive discussion and wonderful photography.

Gaelyn said...

A truly over the top adventure. But I'm with you on the Mexican beach part.

Jeff Rawn said...

I enjoyed reading your account of the August 2014 trip to Africa, Wayne, especially the Kili trek. I followed the same route in September 2015, when rockfall in the Western Breach closed that route and forced us to detour from Lava Tower around on the Southern Circuit. Only difference was that we did an alpine ascent departing Barafu at 12:30 a.m. - saw a beautiful sunrise from Stella Point. I really appreciate your attention to the details - the scientific explanations makes your blog unique (and gave me some data that I originally missed). Thanks.