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My Year of Yego!! We live in a world full of amazing people and beautiful, awe-inspiring places. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we say "YES"!!

I MADE IT!! The rooftop of Africa!!

TANZANIA | Tuesday, 21 May 2013 | Views [370]

I MADE IT!!!! Uhuru Peak (19,341 ft) ~ Tallest Point in Africa!!

I MADE IT!!!! Uhuru Peak (19,341 ft) ~ Tallest Point in Africa!!

I did it!  After talking and dreaming about it for so long, I made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on February 24th at 2:40 pm!!

Although the summit was definitely a highlight, as anyone who travels knows, it is the journey that is most life changing not necessarily the destination.

My journey started off with an extremely long travel time to even get to Tanzania.  After delayed flights, I finally arrived to Arusha, Tanzania after midnight on the 16th of February.  I was picked up by Willie from SENE and he drove me the 2 hours to Mhabe Villiage Farm, home of SENE owner Simon Mtuy and our base for the start and end of the climb.  It was a bumpy ride up a windy mountain road to the farm and then we had to walk by headlamps up the last 400 yards to the cottages.  I was met at 2:30 am by the lovely Mhabe staff who carried my gear and showed me the way.  I checked in with Wilson who took my vitals and the staff provided me with a bowl of warm cashews and a fresh glass of juice.  At this point I was so tired and exhausted from traveling for 33 hours that I just wanted to get to bed.  According to the itinerary, I would have the next day to rest and relax at the farm.  Not so fast my firend ... Wilson informs me that we will be leaving at 5 am for Simba Farm with a wake up call at 4 am ... um, that's like in ONE hour!!  So, I headed to my cottage room and took a quick shower, organized my climbing gear and packed the rest of my luggage up for them to keep at Mhabe for me to get upon my return.  I barely laid my head down on the pillow when I heard Wilson's wake up call outside my door at 4 am!

In the dark, with my headlamp on, I got ready and scrambled up the garden stairs to the outdoor dining area where we ate breakfast and received our next instructions from Wilson.  This is the first chance I had to meet the other climbers:

Jan - a 63 year old grandfather from Holland who just retired and this was his retirement trip he gave himself

Lynn - a 40 something divorcee (sound familiar!) who works for the US State Department in Afganistan

Susan and Allison - 40 something divorcees (I am seeing a trend) who are both scientists at the National Institute for Health in DC

Bryan and Matt - Childhood best friends who grew up in Utah. Bryan is now a hospital scan technician in San Jose, CA and Matt is a biologist who has worked in Alaska and now lives in SC.

It is very rare that SENE puts together climbers who do not know each other, but I have to say, they did a GREAT job matching us up.  We all got along famously and balanced each other out very well!

The next 2 days were spent at Simba Farm on the other side of Kilimanjaro closer to the Londrossi Gate where we started the climb.  It was beautiful, the food was fresh and amazing, and I finally got a chance to catch up on sleep with plenty of naps and 2 good nights of sleep!

Our Kilimanjaro Mountain Guide Honest Matto and some of the SENE crew met us at Simba Farm on the morning of February 18th and the adventure begins...

I could honestly write a novel here of the climb; however, I doubt any of you would want to read it, so if you look through my photos and the captions you will get a pretty good idea of what it was like on the mountain. For the most part it was a wonderful experience and I absolutely LOVED every moment of it!  The day of the summit was long and grueling.  Never in my life have I been so completely exhausted. I did find myself at one point (when my brain and coordination would just not work right in the altitude and complete exhaustion had hit) thinking "What the heck was I thinking, this is the dumbest thing I have ever done!" However that thought was quickly pushed aside and a few days later I was already talking about "the next time".

My porter, Frank, was an amazing young man who I got to know over our 13 day climb. It is a tough life as a Kilimanjaro porter and is not a lifelong "career" one can count on to support his/her family. Frank told me of his dream to go back to school and become a guide. He was a sponge for knowledge and was excited to practice and learn English with me. I made a commitment to help him. If you can, please consider donating to a scholarship fund I have set up for Frank to attend the Professional Tour Guide School in Arusha. And when he graduates and becomes a guide, you are invited to return with me to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with Frank as our guide! 

Enjoy the photos and if you want to hear more about it I am ALWAYS up to share! :-)

 

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