Looking from inside my tent at Third Cave Camp in the morning, at Staci's tent, with Mount Kilimanjaro, the goal, in the background.
A few other campers below us at Third Cave Camp.
Mount Mawenzi views were impressive.
On the climb, from Three Cave Camp to School Hut Camp, we ran across this African Buffalo carcus. Buffalo apparently come up this high during mating season. He got stuck in the little cave in the background and died. Folks pulled the carcass out so he's easier to see , and probably to get the rack. This happened two years ago. There's still hair on it, and smell associated with it.
Once we got to School Hut Camp Staci and I went up another 500' to adjust some to altitude and get ready for the big climb. It was my first chance ever to go over 16000'. Up this high it starts looking like a moonscape.
Camping for the night at School Hut Camp, 15500'.
JANUARY 16-THIS IS IT!
The plan was to leave at 5:00 a.m., but we were ready early. It was tough to sleep.
A four thousand foot climb, starting at 15500' sounded daunting. We went slowly.
A beautiful sunrise over Mawenzi helped spirits.
The view of Mawezi continued to impress as we climbed.
As we got higher, we encountered some snow.
A few impressive glaciers, but apparently much smaller than they were just a decade or two ago.
Many folks were having a tough time on this hike.
Our guide and asst guide with Staci and me at the top.
Staci did twenty push-ups on the summit. She keeps up on her 100 push-ups per day.
It really was a wonderful feeling to reach the top. Staci's accomplished the incredible feat of hiking every step from the Indian Ocean to the top of Kilimanjaro
JANUARY 17-Slow, Easy Descent
Because we summited one day earlier than planned, our descent was easier. We took two days to get down instead of the originally planned one.
It started with an easy stroll along a huge saddle between Mawenzi and Kilimanjaro.
And one more view of Kilimanjaro.
Camped for the night at 10100'.
Some lessons learned:
-Suntactics solar charger worked great
-InReach satellite contact was invaluable
-There was not a need for walkie talkies
-I love dried coconut milk
-Swahili is a fun language
-Stay out of villages named Uru
-My daughter, Ashley's, sleeping bag is much warmer than mine. I'm glad I had it
-Being called Old Man (Mzee) is considered a complement.
-Language barriers are frustrating. Charades is a universal language.
-I have a love/hate relationship with air mattresses. Right now I hate them.
-The most challenging part of this trip was logistics and dealing with bureaucracies
-I did not need five pairs of gloves
-I did not need 16 days of food for an 8 day trip on Kilimanjaro.
-Even though I think I'm slow, many/most people are slower
-I am so impressed with Staci. She is so tough, in all ways. I'm lucky to have been part of her journey. In the end I hiked about 674 km of Staci's 808 km trek with her.
JANUARY 18-End of This Trail
In five days I'll be back in the US. Staci will head to Uganda for a week of kayaking on the upper reaches of the Nile. This has been quite an adventure. I'm ready to be home.
Goodbye. Thank you for keeping up on our journey. Ken