We trudged up one more rise. At the crest, the landscape flattened. It was the collapsed floor of an ancient volcano.
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."