Written by our trip leader Louise Lawrence, who lead our Kilimanjaro climb from September 3rd to 14th, 2016.
I wake to the sound of my alarm going off at 4.30am, grumpiness turns to excitement as my brain wakes up and I realise I’m off to Africa and the great Kilimanjaro. I arrive half an hour early at the airport so that I am ready to meet all the trekkers at the arranged time of 6.30am. Just as well, most of the trekkers are so keen to be on their way we arrive at the same time! Welcome brief, check in, security, breakfast, last minute shopping and we are away – the buzz and excitement seem to make it all effortless.
We arrive in Africa the next morning to a busy day of looking around the Masi Market, eating, expedition brief, gear check and the final pack. Once all our work is done we all settle in to a big dinner, a cool beer and off to bed for a good night’s rest.
Five and a half days up and a day and a half down. Always at a slow pace, there is lots of time for chat and photos. Each day is different in every way. The landscape goes from tropical rainforest to lunar barrenness and the gradient varies from easy uphill to moments of scrambling. We were lucky to have a week of sunshine and very little wind, cool clear evenings and amazing night skies. Summit night always comes as a bit of a shock, most people have never walked up hill in the dark for 8 hours to nearly 6,000m. It is hard, but then again, if it was easy it wouldn’t be a challenge! Once we are at the top, smiles, tears, hugs and laughter, the photos taken and then the walk home. The atmosphere at the final camp has changed; the air of apprehension has changed to content exhaustion. Having completed the final day, we head back to the hotel for the best shower ever and set of clean clothes.
The celebratory meal is great fun with lots of chatter and high spirits. I listen to stories, highlights and the things that stand out in people’s minds. The tales are about the struggle of summit night, the great sunset at Shira Camp, the antics at Tent No. 10!!, the fantastic food, Doctor Frank, bed tea at wakeup call and last but not least, the amazing local team. Everyone is in awe of the local team. Porters, guides, cooks and the mess tent crew. The big smiles, the friendliness, professionalism and hard work, all the things that help make the expedition a great and memorable one. Thank you.
The people that sign up for this adventure always amaze and inspire me. I get to meet people from all walks of life, all ages and all with different motivations. Some trekkers have never camped before, never been on a plane before and certainly never lived on a mountain for 7 days before! They face the challenge with high spirits and determination. The group on this trip were fantastic; they dug deep, laughed, cried and even proposed! Well done to everyone, a trip for ever etched in my memory.
If you are interested in joining us on one of our Kilimanjaro Climbs visit – https://www.earths-edge.com/expedition/kilimanjaro-climb/