In 2003 my wife and I became 50. For this reason we planed something extraordinary in this year. After seeing the movie about Kilimanjaro in the IMAX theatre we definitely knew - that's it. Fortunately we live in a region with plenty of high mountains and in February we already started our training. First with made rather short hikes and then permanently increased duration, elevation and elevation differences. Till September we were almost every weekend in the mountains and finally had a good physical condition.
On September 14th we met our crew: a guide, an assistant guide, a cook and 4 porters and our adventure started at Machame Gate. We hiked Machame route for several reasons:
1.) The landscape shows more variations and there are less people than on Marangu route.
2.) We preferred sleeping in a tent than in an overcrowded hut.
3.) It is longer than Marangu route and has an optional camp (Karanga), which allows better acclimatization to the altitude and increases the probability to reach the summit.
The most exciting day was September 19th. We started at 00:15 from Barafu camp. It was a cold and clear night and we could see the moon and lights of Moshi. We climbed very slowly and every hour we had a short break to eat and drink something hot. We reached the crater rim at Stella Point and watched the sunrise at 6 o'clock. The glaciers between Stella Point and Uhuru Peak were one of the most beautiful and impressive sceneries we ever have seen, we felt like in another world. At 7 o'clock we reached Uhuru Peak and half an hour later the long descent (2800 m) to Mweka camp started. At Barafu camp we had a rest of 2 hours and at 15:15 we reached Mweka camp, tired but very happy.
I hope you will enjoy the slide show and if you intend to climb Kilimanjaro, you should do it very soon - before the glaciers have completely disappeared.
More pictures of Machame route you can also find on http://www.globosapiens.net/mortimer.