The Roof of Africa

(c) Jenn Winter 2009

Summit day really deserves its own post, seeing as it was the longest, hardest, most exhausting yet most rewarding day of the whole experience. We left Barafu Camp at 4600 meters in the middle of the night and hiked for about 7 hours to Uhuru Peak – the highest point in Africa at 5895 meters. I’m thrilled to report that all three of us successfully made it to the summit despite headaches, extreme cold, wind, frozen water and frost. The last couple hours of the trek was more of a psychological struggle than a physical. It took all of the energy and determination that I had just to put one foot in front of the other, and the final stretch from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak seemed like one big mind game.

But what a world awaited us at the top! Hiking in the dark, we weren’t able to see the top of the mountain until we were actually there. The sun rose to reveal massive glaciers, the crater that looked as if it were another planet, the bluest of blue skies and the adrenaline-pumped faces of my friends. Reaching the summit gave me a surge of excitement – a completely natural high that pumped me up and gave me the energy to enjoy my 15 minutes on the top of Africa.

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