Mike's Kilimanjaro Diary "We had a spectacular adventure and I will never forget that breathtaking sunrise!" DAY 1 Today was not the best of days, having decided to run with my chums in the morning I fell twice. First fall was just me getting dirty, but the second resulted in cut lip, legs and twisted ankle. I was already feeling apprehensive about our trip up Kilimanjaro, and this has done my confidence no good at all. However, icing and rest will hopefully mean that by Friday the first day of the climb all will be okay. It seems as though we are both taking a huge amount of luggage but with temperature differentials it is all required. Staying at Tim's and after a curry retiring to bed, taxi 6.30 am in the morning to the airport. DAY 2 In the airport lounge and my ankle seems to be much better still swollen but less painful. Pretty uneventful flight, arrived at Nairobi on time and were out of the airport and into the car in 30 minutes. Hotel within a few minutes of arrivals hall, a basic functional hotel with an industrial outlook. Ankle still swollen but not very painful, should be okay by this time tomorrow. DAY 3 Reasonable night sleep, repacking the bags and going to drive to Moshi. What we thought was a four-hour drive turned out to be seven and we were shattered when we arrived. We met our guide Francis ( nice guy) and had a hour-long safety briefing. After a good dinner things took a turn for the worst and I was violently sick, somebody doesn't want me to do this trip. Up about six times in the night but eventually managed to get a few hours sleep. DAY 4 No idea how today will go, considering my current condition, anyway it is a reasonably easy day, and we will see what happens. It is a 4-hour trek up from National Park entrance to Maranda Camp, it went reasonably well considering. We were able to get a hut to ourselves and after dinner, we were in our sleeping bags by 7.30 pm, nothing else to do here or for that matter anywhere else on the mountain. No Wifi, 4G, or phone signal, it's a place my grandchildren would not be able to comprehend. DAY 5 After a breakfast of Tanzanian porridge, we set off at 8 am for the 11k to Horombo Hut up another 3000ft. The route was quite tough but really uneventful apart from picking up half time rugby score and then as we approached camp the news that we were in the final. We had been assigned to a hut sharing with others but after explaining I was very old and handing over 5 US Dollars we were given our own hut which is great as we are here 2 nights acclimatising to the altitude. DAY 6 Another bad night with stomach upset but okay to go in the morning. Relatively easy day today, only doing about 7k but a fair increase in height to get used to altitude now above 12,000 feet and no real issues so far. Back for lunch vegetables and chicken (which looked as if it died a year ago). Afternoon doing nothing apart from preparing for tomorrow’s 9k up to the alpine zone which is the start of the real tough ascent the day after. Weather has been good just keeping everything crossed that it remains the case over the next two days. DAY 7 Today we leave Horombo and hike to Kibo Hut at 16000 plus feet. This is base camp for our ascent what a remote and desolate place this is and so much colder. Arrived about 2 pm and straight into sleeping bag with 4 top layers and two bottom layers (tights and trekking trousers) the gear fit the final ascent. No sleep I am afraid three other guys in this bunk room. Supper at 6 pm vegetables and spaghetti the back to sleeping bag to rise at 11.00 pm for BREAKFAST!! Gear ready and away we go at midnight a head torch trail up the mountain. DAY 8 We leave at midnight for the final ascent 4 miles up gradients of 15% to 40% in 6 inches of snow. The climb was brutal and took just over 6 hours but it was absolutely spectacular to see dawn break at almost 20,000 feet. Too old to hang around, so we take a few photos and begin the descent, which took us 2 hours 45 minutes. No time to relax at Kibo apart from lunch at 10.00 am, then off on a 3-hour trek back to Horombo. After tea and popcorn, we fall into our sleeping bags until dinner at 6.00 pm. Bed at 7.30 pm and reasonable night sleep. DAY 9 Alarm call 6.00 am for breakfast at 6.30 am and then start the 6-hour trek down to the park entrance. What a difference in temperature yesterday at the top minus 20'c now walking down plus 25'c. Whilst not a particularly difficult walk we found it quite tiring as we had many recent miles in our legs. We collect our certificates and then off to the hotel in Moshi, where we had a very welcome sandwich and beer before tidying our kit showering and shaving. After a couple of hours relaxing we went to dinner for pizza and beer, welcome back. We had a spectacular adventure and I will never forget that breathtaking sunrise, and it was well worth the discomfort of sleeping fairly rough without washing or any clean clothes for 6 days. So soon back to the world I know - looking for the next adventure!!