J.D. Baldwin's Kilimanjaro Diary - Post trek wrap-up

Day 9 (Tuesday, 8 March 2011), time not noted

Another good night of sleep. Up at 6 am to finish my final packing for an 8 am taxi to the airport. I have a 10:30 flight to Dar. The lead time seems excessive to me, but it's what the hotel suggested, so I didn't argue. I pay my $52 bill (for drinks and dinner, plus my massage) early (since there will be no charge for breakfast) and I'm ready to go. I tell the desk clerk I'll be in the restaurant when the taxi driver arrives.
Everyone else but Claire (still getting over her cold) makes it to breakfast, so we all hugged and said good-bye. I'm not a hugger, but I made an exception for this group. Gloria informs me that Anne will be visiting her in NYC in June, so I resolve to see whether I can contrive a trip east that month. We'll see.
The taxi drive is quick, check-in at the airport is efficient (although I am delayed because the first security guy thinks my passport photo doesn't look very much like me, about which he has a point). The plane is on time, and we're in the air before 11 am.

View from the plane back to Dar
View from the plane back to Dar.  I just felt like this page needed a couple of pictures, too, I guess.

My driver Rama was, as always, on time and waiting for me at the airport, so we were on our way quickly. Traffic from the airport back to Dar was the worst I've seen, and a 40-minute trip took close to two hours. That's what I get for traveling on a weekday.

Back in Dar
Back in Dar es Salaam.  Even though the Vodacom billboard has the picture of Kili, I really love that Airtel one.

Back at my place, a quick shower and change of clothes (plus a bit of a shave), then a quick walk across the street to strategic planning meetings already in progress. Straight back into work!
Everyone has questions about the climb, of course, and I am happy to tell the stories. It's hard to believe the event over which I obsessed (not too strong a word, I assure you) for months is now finished.
Finally, here are a few unpaid product placements regarding gear I found essential and excellent on my climb. If any of these manufacturers want to send me a check or free gear, I won't turn it down!
  • North Face
    • Balaclava - not used on this trip, but I've had good results with it before, and I was glad to have it with me just in case.
    • Hiking boots bought new at a military discount store.  Fantastic.
    • My "Chrysalis" sleeping bag, rated to 10 deg. F but worked a treat at even colder temperatures.  Plus, "Chrysalis" is just a cool name for a sleeping bag.
  • Sun Ice
    • My wonderful, wonderful lightweight parka, well over 15 years old now and still the best extreme cold weather coat I've ever owned.  And I grew up in Minnesota.
  • Eastern Mountain Sports
    • My excellent porter-duffel.  Sturdy and lightweight.  Dirt cheap (I paid maybe $15 for it somewhere in New Jersey.) I don't know what I would have done without it.
  • Camelbak
    • What can I say about Camelbak?  Best sports product ever.
  • Nuun
    • Hydration tablets, borrowed from Gloria.  Taste good, full of electrolytes, great stuff.  I wish I'd had some Heed or Perpetuum with me, but these did the job well enough.
  • Kellogg's
    • Nutra-Grain breakfast bars.  An excellent trail snack.
  • Eat Natural
    • Also excellent trail snack bars.  The ones I had were Macadamia nut based, some with dark chocolate, some with other mixes.  Great bars, I wish I could find them in the U.S.
  • Petzl
    • Multiple great headlamps.
  • Injinji
    • Toe socks, designed for running but great for strenuous hiking, too.  Just don't let anyone see you without your shoes while wearing these, unless you are a preteen girl.
  • Under Armour
    • Pretty much all my tees, underwear and regular socks. Cotton is the enemy.
  • N*ke
    • Yeah, I'm done with these guys since the Michael Vick endorsement. I bought a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves, which I love more than I ever did my Frees (and that was a lot). Still, I have to acknowledge that the Frees served me pretty well as camp shoes.
  • LL Bean
    • Fleece sweatshirts.  These are a couple of the most comfortable and versatile garments I own.
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