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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 5 - 18 hours of hiking!!

We slept most of the afternoon and evening of Day 4 (or we were meant to, but a bunch of people had altitude-induced not sleeping, though not me - I slept fine!). The grand process of layering began way before the sleeping though. Layer 3 was my Celtic top ... unfortunately wasn't seen by many at the top, but it was there!

Interestingly I'd asked the guides for any info on the Old Firm game that happened the day we set off up the mountain ... I persistently asked any with a phone or contacts!! Prior to setting off on Day 5 Washington said he'd heard that Celtic won the game ... I was very excited. Of course, I found out when we got down the mountain that they hadn't actually won!!

After singing "Happy Birthday" to Tina at midnight we began our summit. We were wearing head torches and hiking at the slowest speed of all time (even by my standards we were slow, and I was in my usual spot at the back!).

Plan was to get to Gilman's Point to watch the sunrise ... but we were nowhere near the top! Was a pretty spectacular sunrise though!

sunrise over Mawenzi ...

As we approached the top, Charlie and I discussed all sorts of important information like Kevin Phillips' stint at Sunderland!! I'd been trying to think all week of a Sunderland player!

Charlie and I made it to Gilman's Point and had some Kendall Mint Cake (thanks Charlie) and a cup of tea that the others had left for us!!

The rest of our group were well on their way to Uhuru Point (the top top!) but Charlie and I had greeted everyone we'd met along the way - some in pretty bad shape, and we'd enjoyed the views!!

We left Charlie at Gilman's Point with the reassurance he'd return down with another guide and some other hikers. Lastie and I journeyed on to the summit ...

We left our mark in the snow ... Aston Villa and Celtic Football Club ... and added S'Land for Charlie!!

We walked along the crater rim - it was pretty spectacular! And pretty hard going with the low oxygen levels.

Stella Point - the "next" highest point after Gilman's. There was a piece of wood lying in the snow that supposedly depicted the height ... 5685m?

I must also point out that despite looking almost the size of the back of a bus, I was actually warm!!

By now, it was just Lastie and I on the trail, we began meeting people who'd reached Uhuru Point and were on their way back! We met the group of 4 who'd traveled near to us and their guide thanked me excessively for the chocolate and nuts ... he was one of those involved in the celebrity climb for Comic Relief.

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