07 June 2011
Day 7 Climbing Kilimanjaro: Down we go
Awakening for this final morning on the mountain brings mixed emotions. On one hand, it is done and we are returning to real beds, hot showers, and non-fried food. On the other, it marks the end of the greatest adventure of our lives. The group convenes for breakfast and for the first time in a week everyone is genuinely calm and relaxed. We have done it. We have summitted Mount Kilimanjaro! The thought never gets old and simultaneously doesn’t feel real.
Our six-hour descent takes us back from rocks to small shrubs to big shrubs to tall trees. The sun is once again shining and as we reach the gates at Marangu the group lets out a collective sigh of relief before shedding a few more tears. As difficult as it was - as trying as the experience had been on our minds, bodies, and spirits, there was no doubt that we would miss the mountain. Still, what gave us peace was the knowledge that we would forever have this connection to Kilimanjaro, to our charity, and to each other that could never be fully explained both to ourselves and to others. It was, without question, the adventure of a lifetime.