And now the end is near…
We’d been told that we had to check out of the hotel by 10 am so after what was a late night getting up and sorted wasn’t exactly what we wanted to do. Helen and I reluctantly dragged ourselves out of bed and began packing our kit bags for the final time. It seemed strange that it was all coming to an end.
Everyone in the breakfast hall seemed subdued and it was obvious that other people were feeling the same. Eventually the conversation got around to the previous nights events and it sounded as though Scotty and Paul had got up to more mischief after we had left the bar…which ended up with poor Gemma finding a giraffe in her room which, in her semi conscious state, had scared her half to death!
The breakfast offering was a terrible as it had been every other day but that didn’t stop Ram tucking in to a plate of six fried eggs…he’d obviously been missing his protein on the mountain!
After breakfast we literally dragged our kit bags down the stairs and through to the reception ready for loading aboard the buses later in the day…my mind wandered back to the first day when the girl, no older than 12, had carried my kit bag to my room and I felt slightly ashamed.
We were not due to be collected for the transfer to Kili airport until about 4.30 so we had several hours to kill and as the weather was quite good everyone gathered around the pool, drinking beer, chatting and listening to music. You could tell that everyone was beginning to think of home and were sad that our amazing adventure was nearly over. It was while we were sat there that Megan decided to look at her flight details to see what time the actual flight from Kilimanjaro to Nairobi was. We couldn’t believe it when her bit of paper said that she was on the 3.30pm flight! Everyone hurriedly got out their own details and we discovered that 7 of the group were on a different flight to everyone else and if they were going to get it they needed to leave the hotel in the next half hour. Thankfully Jenny, the trek leader, was still at the hotel and quickly organised a bus to take them. I was completely gutted because out of the 4pinkbras I was the only one on the later flight which meant that we were being separated again.
Goodbyes were hurriedly said and everyone was bundled onto the bus. They would have a 7 hour wait at Nairobi until we arrived later to meet them and I didn’t envy them, it was the worst airport on the planet. The rest of the day passed slowly but gave me a chance to chat to a few people that I hadn’t really had the chance to before, Paul D, Lynn, Gilly, Matt and Claire. We eventually left the hotel, with one last group photo on the steps and headed for Kilimanjaro airport. I sat next to Scotty on the bus and we discussed the last week and our two differing journeys and I continued to be proud of being his Kili Mum.
The wait at Kilimanjaro seemed to take forever, not helped by our flight being delayed, according to the announcement ‘for personal reasons!’ – only in Africa!!
We landed in Nairobi and I rushed to meet the rest of the group. We knew they would be camped in the café that Scotty and Paul had found on the way out. It was great to see them all and we sat chatting for an hour until it was time to board the flight. Once again we were scattered all over the place on the plane and I ended up sitting with Paul L and Matt. I was asleep before we left the ground, something that had never happened to me before!
Landing back in the UK the following morning reality began to sink in. We were home and it would soon be time to say goodbye to all the people we had become close to over the last 10 days. There were hugs and plenty of tears. Seeing grown men cry is always hard and in the highly emotional state I had found myself over the last week it certainly wasn’t easy now.
My family were waiting for me at the exit and I literally threw myself at my husband, so relieved and glad to see him. It was brilliant to see the kids too and I embarrassed my daughter by asking Scotty to marry her…never mind the fact that she is only 15!! I pretty much ran out of the terminal, not because I couldn’t wait to get away, but because I couldn’t bear to say goodbye.
The last 10 days had been an amazing adventure. Completely different from the one I had gone for but amazing all the same. At times I felt totally traumatised, at others totally elated. It had been the most awesome, tortuous, brilliant, terrible, long, short, worst and best 10 days ever and I knew that it had changed me for good.
Sharing that experience with such wonderful people had made it incredibly special. I need to thank Helen in particular for keeping me sane when my emotions were running wild and Annemarie and Audra for going along with the mad idea in the first place and succeeding so brilliantly, I couldn't be more proud! Helen's adventurous nature meant that our week on Kili had been an incredible one, one that I will never forget, but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt it will be one that I will NEVER repeat!!