Directly from my diary:
I had an uncomfortable nap. I woke up at 1pm, having slept only for 45 minutes, and sat in my warm sleeping bag writing my diary. I eventually got up, washed, prayed (sitting as always), and dressed for lunch.
Lunch, as usual, was perfect. We had to hurry because a group that had just arrived needed our room so we quickly packed and left.
Both Peter and Alphonce offered to carry my day pack but I told them I was feeling stronger and would carry it till I felt tired. I did feel tired about an hour later and Alphonce took it from me.
Although long, the walk was easy compared to what we had just done and we were all cheerful. We discussed some of the things we’d heard about other groups.
An Israeli father and son team were shuttled down from Kibo the night before, we had heard. The father had gone blind, probably an effect of altitude sickness.
A mother and daughter team from Wisconsin we had met ended with the daughter only summiting. Apparently the mother, who looked like she was in her late 50s, saw the trail of lights going up the mountain, clearly showing how steep the mountain was and decided not to go.
We wondered about all the others. We laughed about Alphonce pulling Amy down the mountain and at ourselves for being such spoiled brats asking Alphonce and Peter to do almost everything for us. We were in a good mood.
Amy also gave her day pack to Peter and it eventually ended up being carried by one of the men who served us at meals.
Renate was as always our power woman.
We reached Horombo just before sunset (around 6:30pm). It was beautiful and felt like home. We registered and were given the same hut we stayed in on our way up. We were overjoyed. We washed, changed, toileted and had dinner.
As he had done throughout the hike, Peter put his little contraption on each
of our index fingers to check pulse and oxygen saturation. This was always a fun time of the day – done always after breakfast and dinner. The numbers on the contraption never stood still. They would continuously go up and down and Peter would always wait to see a number he liked before writing it down on his sheet. Amy’s fingers took a long time to register anything. Both Amy and Renate especially had good heart rates (they are both athletes). I usually had a high heart rate but very good oxygen saturation. This night my heart rate was particularly high at about 110 beats per minute, which was understandable because I was so sick all day and we exerted a lot of effort. But Peter wouldn’t have it. He refused to register any of my numbers and said we’d try again after the others. When we tried again the numbers were still the same so Peter reluctantly wrote them down. We had fun teasing him.
That night we were supposed to give Peter the tips for the staff. We were confused by the guidelines we were given so Renate spoke with Peter and figured it all out. We’d each pay $345 and Peter would divide the total among everyone. We decided we’d give him the money in the morning. We went to the bathroom then to our hut, slid into our sleeping bags and had the first restful sleep any of us had since we started. None of us got up once for the bathroom! We were all finally acclimatized, comfortable, tired and happy. We woke up early next morning.