The day has finally come. We’ve summited Mount Kilimanjaro! Our day began bright and early at 3AM as Genes provided an energetic wake-up call. After grabbing a light breakfast, we began our final uphill trek in the pitch black. Although a bit sleep deprived and freezing, we began to conquer the mountain as Genes and our outstanding guides kept the energy high by leading songs and chants we know word for word by now. As we continued on towards our destination, the sunrise painted beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows above the clouds. The group made progress up steep hills while taking water and snack breaks every so often. As oxygen levels dropped, Genes had to whip out the tanks, but rest assured we were all safe and made it to the summit breathing. To keep spirits high, Lili played her new favorite music genre, Gospel Reggae. At one snack break, we were all graciously offered glucose to power us through the final hours of the climb. Without failure, Miles lead the group at the front of the line through the entirety of today. Kellan continued to express his love for animals by once again barking at those passing by. Ally was our biggest motivator all day, telling us all we were incredible. We couldn’t have done it without her support. After what seemed like a never ending climb, we finally reached Stella Point. Perched 18,000 ft above sea level, this is the final marker before the world renowned spot, Uhuru peak. At Stella Point, we enjoyed a hot cup of tea before making our last ascent to the highest point on the continent. We were told by Satish that this last push would be a “steady incline”, although we were disappointed to find that these hills were actually detrimental to our lungs and mental health. However, the moment we spotted the iconic “Uhuru Peak” sign, adrenaline kicked in. Somehow our feet started to step at a running pace, but we soon realized we were missing a member of our pack. After almost five minutes of waiting anxiously to reach the summit, Bruno emerged complaining of stomach cramps. Finally, hand in hand, we approached Uhuru Peak. We all joined together in celebratory hugs, photos, and smiles, realizing we had accomplished our goal. Sydney even hit a handstand to commemorate the special moment. Miles, Kellan, Leo, and Alex took a different approach. Let’s just say their urine may have hit some hikers down below. After thirty minutes of praise and celebration from each other and our guides, we headed back to Stella Point for a delicious lunch. The descent back to camp was essentially a ski mountain filled with sand instead of snow, which Asher and Bruno particularly enjoyed. After almost two hours of sliding down the massive mountain, we arrived at home sweet home (base camp) where Jadyn got stuck in the bathroom for a second day in a row. Bella made a heroic rescue once again. Then, we had a second lunch in the dining tent followed by entertainment from Asher and Cori in a heated debate over cross country. Side note – we’ve altered our itinerary slightly, so we will actually hike fully off of Kilimanjaro tomorrow and sleep at the hotel in the town of Moshi. This being said, we will make phone calls home tomorrow evening (Tanzania time zone). If you have a conflict with this, please let Ally know and you can have a phone call with your child on the original date (July 10).
Until next time,