Summit Story: Mt. Kilimanjaro


At 10:30 pm on the night of March 7th, I woke up, crawled out of my sleeping bag and, in the light of my headlamp, put on almost every piece of clothing I had packed. This was the night that I would hike from here at base camp to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I was leaving with the “early group” in solidarity with some of the slower hikers and in an attempt to embrace what was going to be an extremely long climb at any speed. The darkness was intimidating, and I took in what little light I could see as I waited for the others to get ready. Looking down at camp, there was a soft glow from tents lit up like nightlights by the headlamps of other cold hikers within. The camp spilled out into a great valley that contains the city of Moshi over 12,000 feet of elevation and 4 climate zones away. The sky was clear and the crescent moon small enough that the stars shone brightly. I looked in awe at the Milky Way extending boldly into the horizon, the Big Dipper strangely upside-down, and while searching for the Southern Cross, I saw a shooting star. Then it was time to go.

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