Excerpt from the chapter “Day 12”:
Since we were at the base of Kilimanjaro, my breakfast table was outdoors, as it was now warm enough. My seat was situated to be staring up at the side of the mountain that is most often photographed. I have to say it again: I am so very pleased to have taken this route; it has been ideal.
We started on our way today, travelling through the rain forest, which was much more humid and misty than it had been on the way in, via the Lemosho Crater route. In fact, when I woke up, the whole ground was covered in mist from the rain forest. Traversing from moorland to rainforest was so nice to do in the mist, and it started to rain lightly near the end, apropos since we were in a rainforest. I saw giant ferns; one frond alone was taller than me. I saw a brilliant green patch of clover and thought of my sister-in-law Stacey, who loves Ireland; I passed on taking a picture since we were moving well at that point.
There was a huge group of people on the trail; we heard them before we saw them. 28 trekkers, mostly students from Ireland, some of their teachers, a couple of doctors who were parents, and 120 porters! I stopped twice to speak with members of the group along the trail. First I spoke with a teenaged boy, who told me they’d raised money as part of this trip; they’d raised a lot actually, to buy equipment for the local hospital. The purchase was inspired by a friend of theirs from school who’d died because the local hospital didn’t have the equipment to save her.