- Journey: From Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
- Hours Walked: 3 1/4
- Starting Elevation: 3,100 m
- Final Elevation: 1,640 m
The last day of my Kili hike was anti-climactic. It was so quiet and calm after the intensity of the previous days.
I officially got up at 6 am, although I awoke 3 different times during the night for about an hour each time. The first time I woke up, I spent the hour writing personal notes to each member of my team. The second time I woke up, I re-read 2 chapters of Commanding Your Morning. The third time I woke up, I read my Bible and prayed.
This day had a bittersweet quality to it. I was so happy to have had the surprising magnitude of experience that I did but it had been an intense week and I would miss being around these guys every day.
After breakfast, my team did the standard end-of-journey Kili performance for me. They sang a Swahili song called Jambo, which basically welcomes guests to the mountain and says it’s no problem to climb as long as you go polepole. They sang a couple more songs and we had a nice 5-minute dance party. Then it was time to go.
We didn’t go as fast as we could on our final walk because my toes were still sore from the day before so I walked gingerly. But we made it to Mweka Gate, our exit, at about noon.
Then it was a matter of formalities. We had to sign out of Kilimanjaro National Park and there was paperwork to be done so I relaxed for a few minutes then went off to the bathroom (a proper one this time with proper toilets – a reward for all we had been through?). When I came back, Elly presented me with my official Kilimanjaro summit certificate. Yup, you guessed it: doubled over, wailing sobs – for the last time though.
We took a group picture with my certificate because I felt that my entire team had a hand in getting me to that summit. My name was on it but this was no solo effort by any stretch of the imagination.
Now, all that was left to do was to have lunch and get me back to my hotel in Arusha. I was there by 4 pm and just like that, my Kilimanjaro adventure was over.
Less than a week later, I feel like I left a little piece of me back in Tanzania with my trek team. I miss them. They were a great bunch of guys – encouraging, warm, protective.
I look back on that week and feel proud of my accomplishment, awed by the way God inspired an intensification of our relationship and supremely grateful for it. I know that I’ll be leaning on Him more than ever in the coming year and I’m happy that I had this faith walk before I started this new chapter of my life.
I’m so happy to know that I won’t be leaning on Him just because I’m desperate or at the end of myself (although there will be times like that). It will be because that’s how God and I roll now – I go to Him for absolutely everything up front and from the first, knowing that whatever I’m walking through, He’s right there with me, looking out ahead of me, watching my back and ensuring that even when I don’t know what the next step is, He does, and it will all be OK.