Our final day on the mountain! We’d been told that there were only about two and a half hours of walking today, so we were eager to get an early start. We practically wolfed down our breakfast in our haste to hurry up and get out of there. All we could think about were hot showers, cold beer, clean clothes and proper food! We set out around 8:00 am, practically flying down the path. The forest looked a lot prettier going down than it did coming up, probably due to the early morning sunlight.
The hiking was much easier on the knees today than yesterday; both Imed and I were amazed at how much better we felt. Whether it was the promise of beer, or the lower altitude there was nothing that could have held us back. We finally arrived at the exit gate around 10:00 and received our summit certificates. We continued to the village where the van from the hotel would be waiting for us, and found a tourist souvenir stand operator who wanted to make a deal for my sunglasses. These were fake Oakley’s that I’d bought at the Uganda-Kenya border crossing for the equivalent of about $1.20. I didn’t want to rip him off, but he kept insisting that I select something from his shop in trade. I chose a nice Masai knife that I’d seen being sold by other guys for about five bucks. The guy insisted that the knife was worth at least $45.00, so I told him that my sunglasses were worth about $25.00. I think the deal was sealed when his assistant tried on the glasses and I told him that he looked just like Snoop-Dogg. They tried to haggle a little bit more, asking for a t-shirt as well, but we finally agreed on a straight trade. The guy kept coming back grinning at me, giving me the impression that he thought he’d ripped me off pretty good.
We finally got back to the hotel right around noon where the rest of the afternoon was spent lounging by the pool drinking Kilimanjaro beer and soaking up the African warmth. That evening around sunset the clouds parted over the Kili summit just at the perfect time to get one last photo from town showing what we’d accomplished. I knew that the next few weeks were going to have to be pretty incredible to match up to what I’d just finished!