Jason offered a weather report at breakfast. "It's two degrees above zero" (it sounds more sinister in celsius).
He meant no evil, nor did I return it, but his words did prompt a flashback to my days of fieldwork in the deserts of Jordan.
What we heard next was spectacular. The porters treated us to a welcome song in Swahili. It was a Kilimanjaro version of "Jambo Bwana," a local tune. To our delight, the phrase Hakuna Matata ("No worries!") was repeated throughout. It would not be the first time that I felt as if I was living out "The Lion King" in Tanzania. The only thing we lacked was a meerkat.
Although the day had seemed long, most of it was spent sitting in a cramped position. We had ridden several hours by bus, waited for official clearance at Londorossi Gate, reboarded and ridden for what seemed to be another hour on the bumpiest road yet. It was mid-afternoon when we finally arrived at the drop-off point beneath the Shira Ridge.
"You know," Godfrey answered, still in reflective mode, "Some people say that Jesus climbed to the top of this mountain."
"Really?" I queried. I was curious where this could go.
"Yes. With his twelve . . . " He searched for the next word.
"Apostles?" I filled in.
"Yes. Apostles. They came here to pray."
Twenty-one Bible Lands Explorers from the United States and Mexico hit trail this summer in Israel-Palestine. In eleven days they managed to cover the ground from Dan to Beer-sheba. More importantly, these pilgrims came from from very different locations and stations of life. They gathered as strangers, but parted as family.