Day 7 - Horombo to the Finish
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Sun Jan 20th

Start Horombo Camp 8:45am 3780 m 12,340 ft
End Marangu Gate 2:15pm 1980 m 6400 ft
Distance 18 km 11.2mi
This morning we wanted to get an early start as Frederick said it was a long hike out to the bottom. I started about 6 getting ready – but took a while doctoring my feet. I had a serious blister/open sore on the little toe on the left foot that needed attention and both big toes were very sore but there was nothing I could do about those.  The little toe was so sore; I needed something to deaden the pain.  All I had was some Oragel but since that is 20% Benzocaine, I used it before putting on one of the blister pads which made things much more bearable.

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Horombo Camp

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Horombo Huts

Because of the early start, breakfast was to be at 7 instead of 7:30 today, but I missed the call and by the time someone called me at 7:30 it was a bit cold but I was too tired to care. 

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Joseph - chief guide

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Frederick - asst chief guide

 

 The big question was whether Daron could walk out or not. He got ready as if to do it but by the time he walked down to the camp office, it was clear he could not do it.  After consultation, Frederick decided to take him on down in the stretcher.   I think we were all glad of that – as even if he could have walked, he would have been extremely slow and this is a long way out – like 20 km.

 They put Daron in a sleeping bag on top of the one wheeled stretcher and all 4 of our guides went with him to manage it, so this left us with a couple of the porters as guides which worked out fine. 

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Preparing to take Daron down

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Tom on trail down from Horombo

 

We took off about 8:45am.  Since we were now on the Marangu route down instead of the Mweka as originally planned, the trail quality was very different.  The trail the whole way was wide and very well built and maintained.  We had bridges in a number of places over small ravines whereas we had not seen a single bridge up to this point. The trail was more like a good ‘nature trail’ in one of the US National Parks, with drainage ditches on both sides in many areas, frequent water bars etc.  Since we were all so tired and sore, we decided that Daron had done us a favor by having to be carried out so that we came out this way instead of the trail we would have taken that would have been slower (but shorter) and probably steep and muddy thru the rain forest and that would have been tougher on our feet.

We got to the next hut, Mandara (2720 m; 9000 ft), in about 3 hours – 11.7 km and had lunch – the usual sandwiches and orange. Then the last stretch down, almost 8km,  took less than 2 hours– we got to the Marangu gate at 2:15 (Tom and I did). The others came in about 30 minutes later.

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Dick, Julie at Marangu Gate

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Julie, Tom, Kristin, Daron at Marangu

 Daron was sitting at the gate with Frederick waiting for us.  He even bought Tom and I Cokes.  He was feeling much better – but still quite tired.  He said "Next time, I'm walking down by myself!!!!"

After signing in and looking at the souvenir shop, we got our ride to the hotel.  We got our stuff and went to our rooms and hit the showers.  My first action was actually to start transferring my digital pics to the laptop to be able to do a show for the porters. 

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Kristin, Dick, Julie, Daron, Tom, Jim

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Kibo from Marangu Hotel

At 5 pm, the porters and guides were gathered and we finally all got together for mutual thanks and presentations etc.  We bought them 2 rounds of beers and they gave us the Summit Certificates.  Tom gave one of his very good speeches.  They sang a couple of songs – one about Kilimanjaro and one about Jambo Bwana (Hello Man) – both in Swahili. I set up my laptop in the lounge and all went to watch the pics there. They were excited to be seeing the recent trip and themselves especially. I also printed off 4 copies of the group picture we took at Barafu Hut – one for each guide.  They were impressed. Our tips for them were $20 for each porter, $40 for Eric and Wilfred and $60 for Joseph and Frederick.  Frederick had really been more like the leader than Joseph had been. After dinner everyone was ready for bed, but it took me until 10 to get my gear resorted and packed for the morning.