Mweka Camp (3080 m) – Mweka Gate (1680 m), 9 km, 1400 m elevation loss, 2 hrs 35 min. Total trip distance 66.6 km, total elevation gain 5032, total hiking time 36 hrs 5 min.
After days of patchy sleep (common at high altitudes), we woke up feeling well rested for a change. We started the day with a celebration. There were group photos and songs sung by both our porters, led by Amiri, and then Siobhan in tribute to our porters. Then we gave all the porters, our waiter, cook and guides their pay packages. Judging by the smiles on their faces they were very happy with what they received. Laura, Emily and I had put the packages together at Karanga Camp. It’s necessary to pay the team in cash but it was a little nerve wracking carrying all the cash around. I am quite sure that rates have changed today but I am a big fan of giving a bit more to everyone. They worked so hard to make our trip a success.
After a quick wander around the campsite which included the most industrial toilet ever we headed off 20 minutes later at 8:15 am.
The day could not have been easier hiking. The trail was wide, smooth and well groomed. We did lose 1400 m of elevation, but being so near the end our legs were stronger and we made short work of the hike.
Near the end of the hike, to keep us going we started singing. I guess we had gotten comfortable with our guides since as a group we do not sing well. One of the songs we sang was “The ants come marching one by one…”. August loved the song so much Emily wrote him out the lyrics when we were on the bus back to Arusha.
Looking back at the trip and reliving the experience through the photos, this was a wonderful but intense way to spend a family vacation. The trials and triumphs that we shared will be with us forever.