This morning, we woke up at 5 AM so members of the team could get back to their families. We were happy to oblige. While we may not have been going home, we were on an adrenaline high still and looking forward to a shower. The walk was relatively flat through the forest, which was a welcome surprise given we were still sore from yesterday’s summit. When we started our hike, we needed our headlamps because it was dark outside and very quiet.
It feels like we are drowning in oxygen. The forest is very peaceful as the sun rises. Soft sunlight sneaks between the trees – enormous, majestic trees. In fact, each branch looks like it could be a tree on its own. Adam enjoyed walking about 20m behind Ahi and Annie.
The walk down felt good. We were happy. It was a hell of a lot harder getting up the mountain than we thought it would be. But we did it. Even after turning back twice. We arrived at the gate where our bus was waiting to bring us home. Our team lined up to give us a certificate. They danced and sang as we received our Uhuru certificates. C alvin rubbed his belly as he and Adam faced off in a dance battle. The air was a much warmer 80 degrees. We felt amazing.
As we waited for the bus, we sat down in a tent at the Mweka Gate. We met John Chuba, a resident of NYC who summited in just 5 days and went up the same night we did. He was alone, which was even more impressive, because Adam and I were really grateful we’d had someone else that wasn’t a regular hiker/non-guide with them. We enjoyed swapping stories with him, because we completely identified with the struggles he mentioned. Because he didn’t have as much time to acclimatize, it seemed like the altitude had affected him more. He said he threw up several times on summit night and had a pretty serious headache the whole way up. But he made it. We laughed when he said, “Everyone was telling me I’m almost there and I wanted to throw them off the cliff. OK new rule: no one talk to me.” We ended up spending a lot of time in Zanzibar with John and his girlfriend, which made the trip even better.