The second part of my Africa trip led me to Moshi, Tanzania- the starting point for a Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa at 5800 meters or 19,000 feet. Trekkers from all over the world come here to climb for 5-7 days in an effort to reach the Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
(Soccer field in Moshi with Kilimanjaro in the background)
For me, I signed up to challenge myself and be active on vacation. I prefer travel with movement rather than lying on a beach for days on end. My former boss did a Kilimanjaro climb last year with his sons and highly recommended the climb so I thought to myself “Why not make the climb?”. The real questions should have been “Why would anyone sign up to do this?”
Hopefully I can help answer the questions: Should you do a Kilimanjaro climb?
(go back, go back!!)
(smiling and pretending I feel awesome)
I chose one of my staple tour companies for the climb- G Adventures. I have had good experiences with them in the past (Peru, Thailand) so I was pretty comfortable in my decision to use them. My group was made up of 3 Americans, 2 Germans, 2 New Zealanders, 1 Brit, 1 Irish, 1 Dutch, 1 Spanish, 1 Canadian and 1 other Dutch guy we sort of adopted who was making the climb by himself. The youngest member was 20 and the oldest 41. Apparently this was a fairly young group which worked out perfectly and made me just about the average age.
(at the starting gate of the Machame route)
My group was the best part of the climb. These are the people who make sure you don’t quit or fall off the mountain, give you ibuprofen when needed, and are your lookout for other trekkers when you are peeing behind a rock.
Two trekkers were like me and on “sabbatical” from real-life but a number were sex crimes/human trafficking/family attorneys who deal with horror and pain as part of their regular lives. And all 12 of us could shoot whiskey without a whimper. What I’m trying to say is that these people are special- they are normal, everyday people with a streak a badass in them.
The Ladies of the Kilimanjaro Climb:
And you need that badass streak to get up the mountain. The climbing isn’t so bad but the rain, wind, cold, altitude, lack of oxygen, and lack of sleep is what makes it hard. Eleven of the 12 of us made it the whole way despite these things because we are awesome.
(I look like a giant green blob at Uhuru Peak but I was so past caring about anything)
But now I can always say that I did climb Kilimanjaro. And that alone may someday make it all worth it.
The day-by-day play-by-play will be up soon.