Kilimanjaro Day 7 Horombo Camp to the Marangu Gate

And so we reach the end of our adventure. It’s been an amazing week and I don’t want it to end.

After breakfast the whole of our team gathers for the tipping ceremony. These men and women have been unbelievable taking care of us during the last week and they deserve every cent and more. As we sing and dance it’s bittersweet: a celebration of friendship and what we have achieved but also a goodbye. There will never be this group of people in this place again. Climbing this mountain has brought us together in a little bubble, a set routine, cut off from real life and leaving it is hard.

As we descend, far quicker than any of our previous days’ walking there is an intent – to get finished (and to have a shower) but a reluctance in returning to the real world.

There’s still the incredible views and all around us the vegetation is increasing as we walk towards the rainforest on the lower slopes. The horizon is doing strange things ahead. It’s not where it should be. Above the clouds shimmering silver is a lake floating in the sky. I’ve never felt so aware of my position on the planet and so very small.

Soon the high trees of the rainforest surround us and we can hear strange bird noises and see monkeys in the trees. In almost no time at all we reach the gate. The finish line. Done.

We sit for a while and explore the tiny gift shop before it’s finally time to say goodbye to the guides who have walked with us today. It’s the end of the season and most of them are heading home to their families.

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And so we head back to civilisation. Back to the hotel with its intermittent WiFi and beer. We celebrate. We enjoy washing and relaxing in the bar and over dinner. It’s been an incredible adventure and now all that remains is a few hours rest before we leave for the airport and our early morning flight. As I lay in bed I listen to the torrents of rain falling outside. The rainy season has arrived.

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