Final Descent and Celebration, August 10 – Day 5

Holy hell, we are sore. It has to be from running down the dusty mountain without slipping! 

We hiked down to Mandara huts today, in the rainforest again, for a delicious lunch of homemade potato salad and sammies – best food in the world. Our guides were great – getting us to the summit was over, and they loosened up a bit. We used toilets that flushed at Mandara – yay! – then laid in the sun for a bit. No cloud cover there today. We hiked through the rainforest towards the park gates and just soaked in how gorgeous everything is. Many people do day hikes on Kili, which means you go to Mandara then come back down the same day. We saw an adorable British girl who said “Ughhh, how much farther is it?” We told her Mandara was near, but man did we enjoy that comment after getting to the summit 🙂

We got to the bottom, our guides had our diplomas made, then we drove to the hotel with them. We took two showers – one to get all the dirt and grit off, then one that felt like a real shower – and met our crew at 4pm for beers and celebration time. Safari beer is amazing; we will miss it most of all. Our crew sat in the sun since it was finally sunny and warm out, and we chatted with them. Protas taught us about his family and Tanzanian history. We talked about the fruit in Tanzania, and he mentioned how awesome apples were. They don’t have them, but sometimes they get to try them on the mountain if their groups bring them along. Well, good thing I had an apple in my bag from Qatar! I snuck away, got the apple, went to the bar, cut it up into about 15 pieces, and brought it out. Oh man, you have never seen a group of grown men so happy!! They LOVED this apple. All 8 of them shared it and just raved about it. I wish I would have known – I would have brought a lot more from Qatar with me (let’s just say customs was pretty light here so I didn’t have to worry about crazy fruit issues!).

Then, time for our diplomas! Protas gave us each our diploma and we all shook hands. Then the crew sang us the Kili climb song! See video. Protas is the one leading it. Then, time for tips and goodbyes. Saying goodbye to Michael and Protas was very very difficult. They made us get up that mountain and were so humble and great the entire time. Brad gave Michael my headlamp so he wouldn’t have to climb in the dark again. Then, our crew left. It’s still very sad to think about.

We packed our hiking stuff in a bag for Nick to take home with him – honestly, it’s so gross that I feel bad for Nick to even have it in his apartment! Charged some electronics, tried desperately to get phone signal to tell our parents about our engagement, then had beers with Nick. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep and getting up for safari tomorrow morning! Marangu was just wonderful, and we hate to leave :(…

-b&b

 
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