On Day 6 we made it to the top. I really have no idea how I got myself up that mountain. There were many times during those final six hours when I was asking myself (and trying to ask Pablo but he heard nothing thanks to his 45 layers of clothing), "Why are we doing this?" I mean I don't really feel the need to boast to the world that I can walk up to 6,000m. Nor do I get much personal joy from trying to function at 4am on limited oxygen. So, "Why did we do it?" I don't really know, I guess, "Why not?" And when it came down to those last six hours going up, I think just that we had already made it so far made us push it a bit more to finally finish the thing right.
I have gotten responses from many of you, and I would say that the number one question asked is "Are you glad you did it?" And I would say "Yes", without a doubt. Besides enjoying some beautiful scenery with some awesome friends, on that mountain, I got in touch with myself on a whole new level. I learned that when you think you can't go a step further, you can. I learned that on a day to day basis, I am capable of so much more. And I learned that when you go through something difficult, it is crucial to have someone you love and trust by your side.
Kilimanjaro was a crazy adventure. Every day was a challenge but none more so than the Summit Day. We awoke at midnight in our freezing tents and hurriedly clothed ourselves and tried to shove some cookies down our throats. Our plan was to make it to the top at 6am, just in time to see the sunrise. We made it there at 5:50. When we started the climb my stomach was already a mess, I was not feeling good. The altitude and stream water seemed to not settle well. But our guide, Busta, started us off at a fast pace to get our blood pumping and perhaps to get us to the point where it would be easier just to continue up rather than trying to go back down the steep hill in the middle of the night. The wind was howling on the mountain and it had to be around -20 F. Poor Pablo had never experienced such cold and I am pretty sure he was in a state of shock for the duration of the climb. After we got back down the mountain, both of us said we had been waiting for the other to decide enough was enough and allow both of us to quit. But that didn't happen, and we made it to the top. We made it to Stella Point around 5am and at that point I thought we had reached the Summit. I was hysterical. When I was told we had 45 more minutes to go I about lost it, but Dismas took my hand and got me moving. We actually made it to the top before the sun started to rise so we tried to wait a bit to get the perfect photo with the sunrise, but after about 5 minutes I said "LET'S GO!" I wanted off that damn mountain, and so we took our photo in the dark with the Polishs' camera because Pablo's camera battery was frozen. Then, right as we were stepping down from the Kilimanjaro Summit Sign, the sun started to rise, and all around us Africa was waking up. I have never seen such a spectacular sight.
enjoy a theme song