Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kilima Njaro: Check

[Horombo Hut --> Mandara Hut --> Park Entrance --> Arusha]

We wake up leisurely, close to 8 a.m. The day yawns before us, hours of walking downhill, succumbing to gravity; what a luxury!

I take the time to observe vegetation stretching higher into the sky, eventually we are back in rainforest. Specks of color from flowers, massive tree trunks, and sound travels uncannily through foliate to alert us to waterfalls, birds and monkeys. We happen upon a cow!

We receive certificates, take our final photos, leave Kilimanjaro National Park with fond farewells.

Now that we’re back at ground level, all the mundane thoughts I left behind for more pristine air are back. But there’s one surprise left: we visit the Marangu Falls for a final shower of nature before taking long showers in Katana’s house to compensate for days of sponge baths. We eat hungrily and sleep deeply.

Mt. Kilimanjaro was a humbling, exhilarating test of endurance with some of the kindest strangers I've ever meet. Hosea belongs to the Chaga tribe and therefore speaks Chaga in addition to Swahili. In Chaga, Kilima Njaro means “our hills,” he explains. There are other translations of the mountain’s name, but I like this one the best.

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