by Simo Hyvönen (Originally published on Dec 4, 2013)
It had been in my mind and it was my dream almost one year. Then suddenly one day in August 2013, I realized that Kilimanjaro can be true for me. Previous night I could not even sleep, I almost itched in anticipation. The first day was 24th of September and it was fairly easy to walk through the green fairytale like forest. It took almost five hours. The second camp named Shira was a very beautiful rock area over 3850 meters high. Some members of our group had to stop already because they were so tired and probably because they had not drink enough water. The third day was bright. We climbed to the Lava Tower which is 4640 meters high.
That afternoon was quite strenuous when we went down to the Barranco Camp standing at 3960 meters high. But that journey was over 10 kilometers. On Friday we were facing a terrifying trial: a high and a narrow rock path. Sometimes we had to help and support each other by holding hands, like we have to do in our lives. I did not look down; I could only concentrate to the next step. I will never forget that day. We came to the Barafu Camp at six o’clock and at the same time it started snowing. People were so thrilled that they began to play snow war in the middle of Africa.
The last climb we did in darkness with a head lamp. It took six hours. My guide Theo was very helpful and patient with me. When the sun came over clouds at five o’clock on the Saturday morning, I got more power. I was climbing very slowly, very ‘pole-pole’ truly. But I succeed to climb to the Stella Point to 5785 meters high! I truly encourage, even older people such as me to try to have this experience. I can guarantee that it will be worth it.