Gilles and I woke up at crater camp to a chilly -5 degrees celcius. I can't say that I slept much...
My oxygen level was at 68 (down from high 80's for most of the trek). A simple toss and turn in the
sleeping bag got my heart racing like I was out running the half marathon... Wake up call was at 5:30am and breakfast at 6am. The sun had just started to rise over Stella point and the camp was warming up to the rays of the sun. Never have I been happier to see the sun in the morning.
We geared up and left camp at 7:15. We hiked along the crater for a few kilometers before heading back up to Stella point. From here, it`s a 3,800 foot drop in elevation back to Barafu camp where we would meet the rest of the group. The way down is much harder than it looks. A lot of sliding down loose gravel and sand, almost like skiing but without the snow or skis.... Some of the porters are zooming by us like we were standing still. They carry their own gear plus 30 pounds of equipment on their head or on their shoulders. We made it back to Barafu in two and half hours... many of the porters can make it down in 45 minutes... these guys earn there keep.
Once the group was together, we heard about their descent last night. They descended a bit in the dark using their head lamps, navigating the difficult rocky terrain as they approached Barafu camp. After a 15+ hour day of hiking, supper was the last thing on their mind.
We set off for Mweka camp where we would spend our last night on the mountain. The terrain was mostly rocky and the weather cooperated. No need to use our rain gear today :-) We reached Millenium camp along the way and savoured a coke while we paused for a half hour or so... Mweka camp was about an hour away located at the edge of the rain forest. We signed in the park register and set off to our tents.
Supper was good usual and stories of yesterday`s summit climb were shared... It was also found out that the only jar of honey had been sent up to crater with Gilles and I... a few crepes lovers were not too happy this morning... or that the ladies portable toilet had also been sent up to crater camp... the difference between the men`s and women`s portable was that the ladies had a plastic
seat to sit their tush on... the men`s had 4 metal bars.... 4 very unimpressed women were at Barafu that night
The group has meshed well over the past 9 days. New friendships have been formed, and existing bonds strengthened.
Tomorrow is our last day on Kili... a happy sadness lies within us all