Getting down the mountain was one of the things I was dreading from day one. When you think of doing Kili you mainly focus on being able to get up, whereas getting down is also hard and painful.
Immediately after summiting we were told to descend, as being at such a high altitude for a long time is bad for your body. Exhausted we took a few pictures, sat down, caught our breath and attempted to get down the mountain. The scree and rubble that made it so difficult to get up meant that it was also a nightmare to come down again. The porters told us to slide down (just like skiing) but this was a lot more difficulty than they made out. It took around 4 hours for me to get to base camp, sliding on scree only meant that I fell over many times. So much so that at one point I rolled down part of it because it seemed more efficient and a faster way of getting down than getting up and falling back down again. Those that could barely stand were ran down the mountain by porters, every so often you would see someone with a guide holding their hand, or arm in arm, and being dragged down resting their weight on the porter and not falling over – I really don’t understand how these guys do it!
Arriving at base camp was allowed some food and an hour’s nap before doing another 3 hour trek to the camp where we would be spending the night. By this time I had been walking for 11 hours straight, with only snacks and 4 hours sleep – so tired. The next day wasn’t so bad, it took 4 hours to get to the gate. Only we walked through a big rain cloud for a couple of hours which meant the floor was slippery and hard to walk on.
We were drained as we got to the bottom, we had some lunch and got on the bus that took us back to the hotel – so excited for our first proper night’s sleep in ages.
That evening the guides came back to the hotel with us to join us in a celebration meal. We received our certificates and ate dinner in a room, with actual chairs and actual lights – oh the luxury!
Instead of then going to bed (another luxury we hadn’t had for a while) we stayed up with Konyagi, the national spirit of Tanzania, drinking games and celebrated some more, ignoring the fact we had yet another 6.30am start the next day.