After feeling so good yesterday, over night my body and mind returned to day 3. As we rested, my thumping heart echoed in my head and I had to slow my breathing down to deep breaths. On the day we had started our Kilimanjaro journey, a man had died from AMS after reaching the summit. Had I fooled myself? A long night and a couple of urgent "fresh air/toilet" breaks followed. By morning I had another "bad ass" headache but was not alone and managed to move quickly behind a rock to throw up a concoction of hot chocolate and bile. Other team members and porters were also feeling heavy headed and appeared rough.
As I had problems trying to pull up the zip of one of my gaiters, I tried to enlist the help of one of our porters/guides. They were unusally sluggish. With a bad night's sleep, and the cold seeping into our bodies, they too appeared less coordinated. After a short struggle, Felix finally sorted out my zip issue.
No one in the camp wanted to read any more peace messages, preferring to depart the crater as soon as possible. However, now was not the time to think of ourselves, for Amani had carried the thoughts of thousands onto the mountain, packed in two cannisters Uncle Pete had bought for the job. In a quiet short ceremony, we buried the cannisters as a symbol of bringing peace to Africa, and perhaps for a future generation to rediscover or for you, dear reader, to leave your message of peace should you discover the cannisters on the mountain.
As we left, Amani sang a song of peace as he skidded along on the scree. Coming out of the crater, we could see hundreds of people snaking up to the summit and were thankful of the decision not to leave at midnight as most groups do. For we had enjoyed a deserted summit and the tranquility of a mountain top.
As we entered Millenium Camp, a beautiful campsite within the forest, we were greeted joyfully by the rest of the porters, and found the other half of the team had decided to continue on out of the park with a couple of guides and porters. Andrew had already prepared our lunch of hot soup and fried bread! He was feeling much better. I must definitely find out that energy bar brand!
With food in our belly and air to breathe, we were feeling stronger and continued onwards towards camp Mweka. Amani was returned to me to finish off the descent for the day.
Mweka campsite was another crowded campsite, but at least being nestled in the woodlands, helped to create sections, providing some privacy to the different teams.
Our final day on the mountain, and Amani called to Uncle Pete who had been struggling on the final ascent up the mountain peak. Uncle Pete hitched Amani on and flew off into the forests. With peace, comes joy and Uncle Pete was joyful to feel alive once again.
The bus was first overloaded with people, but with Mary's wise insistence, the porters exited the bus to wait for a second bus. Mary's foresight probably saved us, as the bus slid along a muddy track, headed into a ditch and nearly cartwheeled over.
We celebrated the end of the journey with lunch with the guides and said our goodbyes to Mary, Jacob and Gideon who were continuing their African trip with a cousin. The rest of us headed back to Arusha town.
Uncle Nicholas left during the night back to England. We would later find out his journey took 3 days due to airplane incidences! Aunty Tess, Uncle Pete, Ann and Jackie headed off to Kenya for a retreat in a 5 star house, leaving Jess and I the last to leave Arusha. Our flight was not due to leave until 6am on 25th Sept.
As we prepared our kit, Jess' phone sounded off the whole day with messages from guides and porters wanting to meet her! That day, I became a chaperon, meeting and greeting love struck porters and guides. Thankfully we had the excuse of needing to go to bed early. However that night the Mexican haunted me as Jess' phone told me he had left a message.....but not only from him, also from the love struck ones wanting her to stay in Tanzania!
The next time we go on a trip together, I am killing her phone!
Amani and Opendu/Peace and Love to you all.
Next story is of the Gatliff Marathon - I got lost!!!