12 Days of Kili – Day 11: Mweka

Day 11 will fall on January 7, 2014
10,400-ft/3,170-m • 8-9 hours

Ah, it’s all downhill from here, right? 

12day11aFatigue, scree (loose rock debris) and the steep incline can still carry some perils as the group makes its way back down the mountain.   Some say that the strain on the knees is worse going down than going up.  Thank goodness for walking poles!!!  On my descent from Everest Base Camp, I thought I was doing pretty well until I had to climb down a ladder-like ramp without hand holds or the use of my poles.  I realized I could not bend my knees to 90 degrees and only through the steadying help of two guides was I able to make my way down the ramp.  No points for grace, though.

Likely the entire group will still be feeling both the elation and physical impacts of yesterday’s summit to Uhuru Peak.  It is worth noting that Uhuru is the highest point of Kilimanjaro’s three peaks and its name means “freedom”.  However, the real relief from our efforts will come once we arrive at Mweka Camp for the night after a day’s descent into oxygen-rich air and the prospect of a shower and a good night’s sleep the next day.   


The view of the summit from Mweka Camp

Although I have reached the top of Kilimanjaro many times in my mind, the real test will come next month.  As I approach my first climb of Africa’s highest mountain, I am in awe of Eddie Frank, owner/operator of Tusker Trails, who will be pursuing his 50th climb just a couple weeks later. 

As I have another mountain of supplies, clothing and meds I must tackle and wrestle into one bag (strictly not to exceed 50 pounds), I will leave you with an excellent article on Eddie and what has driven him to Mount Kilimanjaro 50 times.  From that, I expect you can understand why I chose Tusker for my first climb of that epic mountain. I strongly encourage you to click on the link and check out the article! 

Now onto the overwhelming task of checking my list twice and carefully packing that large red bag.  If only I had a team of reindeers to help me make the trek across the miles.  


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