July 8, 2012 was our final day on the mountain. We hiked from Horombo Huts (12,200′) to Mandara Huts (9000′) then on to the park entrance at Marangu Gate (5905′). When we got to Mandara Huts for lunch, guide Bruce asked me if I would like a car to take me the rest of the way. I said no, I was fine now, and would be ok. But then, I got the idea that maybe Rebekah and I could play a nice prank on the other 5 who were about an hour or so ahead of us on the trail. They were always pranking me, so I needed to get back at them in a big way. During our trip they even had been coaxing Bruce and my own daughter Rebekah joining them in their schemes. Early in the trip, on the way to the drive to our start of the hike, they convinced Rebekah to tell me that she had forgotten her sleeping bag at the hotel – about 2 hours into our drive to the start of the climb. They then had Bruce tell me we “only had” another 3 hours of driving after we had driven 3 hours of our expected 4 hour drive to the start of the climb! I decided to take Bruce up on the car transport idea. We walked for about 45 minutes and then met up with a car that took us out the rest of the way on the porter road that was different than the hiker’s route, so they wouldn’t see us drive by them. The startled, albeit brief, look on their faces when they arrived at Marangu to see us waiting for them was well worth it!
After a short celebratory ceremony that included our summit certificates being handed out by Bruce we crashed in bed. Jordan and I had to get up at 3am to make our flight to Nairobi, then on to Malawi. It would be Jordan’s first visit to Malawi and my 2nd of the trip and 5th overall. Despite my upper respiratory problems I couldn’t wait to go back to Malawi to join the crew and repair a few more wells. The view from our 6am flight of Kilimanjaro was killer!! Having round tripped to Kilimanjaro AP four times and round tripped four times from Nairobi to Lilongwe, where there is also a good chance to see Kilimanjaro, and despite the badly scratched up windows on the plane, I had never seen it like this before. It was both enormous beautiful. However, once again we proved it to be conquerable for clean water once again. Enjoy the photos.