I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

In January I booked a trip of a lifetime to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. One of the guys I hiked the Inca trail with, Jim had it on his bucket list and he contacted me at a weak moment and I signed on. We were both happy with our Inca trail experience, so we booked this trip through G Adventures.

Jim and I met in Dubai and had a 20 hour layover. We hit a few of the main sights, the mall, aquarium, Jumeirah Mosque and the Burj Khalifa.

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After our quick tour of Dubai it was off to Tanzania. We arrived at the Stella Maris lodge late, and met our group of climbers the next morning at breakfast. We had a group of 8, Jim and I and 6 single women travelers. We headed to the park and after lunch began our hike. We were hiking the Marangu route, which is the shortest route to the top. This would be the easiest day of hiking.

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We hiked about 4 miles to the Mandara Huts. The huts were basic but clean and I preferred them to tents. Hiking day 2 was about 6.5 miles and still pretty flat. We were at 12205 elevation at the Horombo huts. The food on the mountain was basic and could have used some spices.

Hiking to Kibo huts got harder mostly due to the altitude. It was about 5.5 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain. We ate and slept for a few hours before being woke at 11 pm for the midnight hike to the summit. It was cold, about 30 degrees. We were hiking on the volcanic sand for a while then snow. We made it to Gillman Point, 18652 ft in about 5.5 hours and saw an amazing sunrise on the way.

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From Gillman’s Point we continued up to the top of Africa ,Uhura Peak, 19229 ft. This was very hard the snow was icy, the wind was howling and it was still cold. But the sun was shining and we were on a mission. We made it to the top in about another 2 hours.

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After spending 10 minutes at the top and having a shot of Hennessy we heading down the mountain.  It was very icy we had to be very careful and use our poles. We made it back to Kibo huts about 12 hours after we started. We had lunch and a nap then had to get up and head down to Horombo Huts. This sucked. We were all exhausted and felt like we did not have a chance to enjoy what we just accomplished. We arrived at the huts about 6 pm. I got water and ate a few bites of a bar and went to sleep. Sleep was more needed than food.

The last day we hike thru the Mandara huts to the park gate and drove back to the lodge. The people at the lodge were friendly, helpful and wanted you to feel like you were home. Our group had dinner together and relived our climb before some of us had to head back to reality.

This was the hardest thing I have ever done. The cold, altitude, wind and distance was daunting at times, but I would not have had it any other way. If it was easy it would not mean as much.

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