June 19th, 2016 – 5895m (19340ft)
We woke up in the dark to start our hike. The crew stayed behind and so it was just us Peter and Gideon. We would zig zag on switch backs sometimes slipping on rocks. At one point someone in the group ahead of us lost a lens cap and it blew off and over us to the group below us due to the crazy wind. Sometime while we were in the dark, Amy started seeing dancing vegetables.
She didn’t want to tell us for fear she’d be pulled off the mountain, so good thing they were encouraging her to keep going!
Somehow, we made it to Gilman’s Point (5685m / 18651ft), and we tried to get some water but our Camelbaks were frozen in the 10-degree weather we hiked through. Peter had hiked up a warm tea bottle to save the day, and we trudged on. Peter explained that had we not made Gilman’s by sunrise we would have had to turn around.
We made it to the summit slowly but surely, since it felt like we were gasping for air, and got to wait in line for our opportunity for a picture at the peak. This is the point where Amy asked, ‘Is this it?’ but still smiled, took in the view, and started her way back. I stayed a little longer – it was crazy being on top of the world – before catching up with the group and heading down the mountain.
We found out that the first part of the hike with the dancing vegetables had actually been a huge field of loose rock, and that the best way down was to ski it. I found this more entertaining than Amy, but we made it down and the crew had lunch ready for us. After lunch, we hiked down the ‘McDonald’s route’ (Marangu) to Horombo Hut (3720m / 12204ft) exhausted.