The following is an excerpt from my Kilimanjaro travel journal, written June 13, 2010
After showering for the first time in a week, the crew plus Joshua reunited one last time Saturday night at The Outpost to eat, drink and be merry while watching the United States and England battle to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of group play at the 2010 World Cup.
It was a fitting final hurrah for everyone. We all went home at least somewhat happy — neither of our teams lost (although the Brits were understandably disappointed that their goalie handed the US the tying score), and Joshua and the neutral Canadians got to see a good game. Even better, it was a laid back evening of fun and fellowship as we toasted to our success with cold bottles of Safari, Tusker and Kilimanjaro Lager.
We began our journey as strangers but had grown very close during our week together. We’d counted on each other for encouragement, moral support and — most important — an endless supply of humor that made hard days manageable and long days fly by.
We’d all made it to the summit successfully, we all made it back down, and now we all looked unrecognizable with clean hair, scrubbed faces and fresh clothing. The stench of sweaty hiking boots and re-worn shirts and socks was now a thing of the past.
On Sunday morning everyone headed their separate ways. Zephan was the first to depart with a red-eye flight back to work in the Middle East. Geoff and Peter and Jeff and Claire headed to Zanzibar for a few days of sand and sun. Jonathan and I had lunch together before he headed back to Washington, D.C., via Addis Ababa.
Meanwhile, I was the last to go with an evening flight to London via Dar es Salaam and Amsterdam. It was already dark as I headed to the airport, Kilimanjaro hidden from my sights for good but still very vivid in my mind. I know it will stay there for quite some time, and the photos and memories will last a lifetime.