Climbing Kilimanjaro – Day 8 – Descent

This is the eighth and final part of my day-by-day account of what it was really like to climb the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro.  If you missed it, Day Seven is here.

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Unsurprisingly, I slept amazingly well the night after the summit – as did everyone. There’s nothing like a midnight start and 15 hours of walking to knock you right out!  And also unsurprisingly, I was rather footsore and achy when I woke.  Though it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, and luckily I still had enough strength in me for the final descent.

But before we set off, it was time to say goodbye to our wonderful team of porters.  Their job on the last day was just to carry all the equipment down off the mountain, and since they walked much faster than us, once they’d departed we wouldn’t see them again.  So there were speeches, and the presentation of tips, and even a choral performance in the sunshine with the mountain forming a perfect backdrop.  You can watch a snippet here…

 

The descent was downhill all the way, passing back through the heather zone we had encountered on Day Three, and then the forest zone from Day Two.

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And of course everyone was in a excellent mood.  We had done it, and now we were heading back to civilisation and a hot shower!

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Some of the group were more stiff and sore than others.  For those with creaky knees, the three hours of descent were a bit of a struggle, and the going was slow.  So the group soon split up, and the perkier ones amongst us charged off with as much energy as we could manage.  All we cared about now was getting to the bottom as fast as possible!

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The three hours of stomping downhill gave me plenty of time to reflect on some of the things I was and was not going to miss about Kilimanjaro.   Here are the things I miss:

  • The glorious sunshine (but not the sunburn)
  • The amazing scenery that changed dramatically every day
  • Stunning clear starry nights
  • The company of the wonderful guides
  • Having someone else cook me three meals a day
  • Being outside in the fresh air every day
  • Getting lots of exercise without really noticing (much better than a spin class!)
  • The sense of achievement

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And some of the things I definitely DO NOT miss:

  • Portable toilets
  • Skanky unwashed hair
  • The DUST!
  • Having to pack and unpack my bag every day
  • Cold nights
  • The permanent blocked nose
  • Peeling fingertips and filthy nails
  • Sleeping in a tent, especially when it was on a slope
  • Powdered milk in my tea

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And yes, dear reader, I made it back.  And there was a nice cold beer waiting for me…

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I hope you’ve been inspired.  Please do comment if you have any questions – and if you’re planning your own Kilimanjaro trip click here for the full lowdown on how I planned and prepared for mine.

Thanks for reading!


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