We did it! We summitted the big African mountain, and by summit I mean Uhuru! I had no idea what this meant before going there...There are two "summits". First you arrive at Gilman's Point, where the guides congratulate you as if you are finished...?? Then they ask if you want to continue to Uhuru, the real summit. We were all of the same mind...the top was the goal, so we continued around the crater rim...for 2 more hours!!! I think these were some of the hardest hours of our lives in terms of physical endurance and mental intensity. It was cold, we were tired (had been hiking for more than 6 hours already, starting at midnight) and we were HIGH...19000 feet high. Elevation provides a lot of new experiences and challenges for the body...
But we did it! And we are all so happy we did. So many factors have to work out when making plans like this, so to have it become reality made us really grateful.
It took 15 porters, a cook and 3 guides to get us up there! This sounds insane, and really it is...but when we realized what it would take for us to try and do this on our own, which isn't allowed anyway, we were able to understand it a bit better. Without guides and help with carrying, the trip would be totally different and almost impossible for people like us. We don't have the time or willingness to invest what it would take. We loved our group of support people and they seemed to be having fun along the way as well. The guides forced us to walk "pole pole"...very, very slowly!, the cook fixed us fabulous meals and kept us with safe drinking water, and the porters basically did the rest!...They seemed to race ahead and get everything set up for us, as if it was no trouble at all for them to physically run around at elevations where we found ourselves searching for air, losing our appetite and feeling a bit dizzy in the head. It is kind of embarrassing to require this much help, but we required a small village to make it up Mt Kili.
Having the time with Ali and Myles is especially sweet. We are so glad they have joined us in Africa for now.