Today is the day we start our climb :-). We are at the gates, and waiting for the climb to begin. Our gear is packed, our porters are getting organized – we are anxiously waiting to take our 1st steps on the mountain. We feel strong and ready! I have already been teased for my constant giggling, and excitement. I hope I can report the same thing 5 days from now.
Thank you for all of the well wishes and love from home.
There are not enough positive adjectives to describe the day I have had today!!! We started the day opening up our cabin door to a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She is beautiful! It is amazing how you can see a thousand photos of something, but it is still so different in real life! It is hard to imagine that I will climb to the top – it is so high!!! We had a group breakfast to discuss the plans for the day. The fruit here is delicious!! Here’s a photo taken from my breakfast table:
Late morning we had a group hike through the coffee plantation. It was very hot and humid – but my pack and boots felt great! In the afternoon we packed our duffel bags for the porters to carry, and my day pack.
Tonight we will have dinner, and then head to bed early. We leave for the mountain at 9:00. My job now is to have everything charged and organized for the mountain!
We made it! I had a fabulous 10 hour flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro. I saw the snow peaked Alps, Mediterranean Sea and Sahara desert. I did a happy dance when we got off the plane. I am in AFRICA!!! Tonight we are heading to the lodge, and off to bed.
Well, so far so good. I am at the T.O. Airport. I have met 5 of my fellow climbers, and we are all excited and ready to go. We leave to Amsterdam in an hour, and then will arrive in Tanzania Monday night.
The majority of my gear is packed. Today I packed my duffel bag (that the porters will carry) and my backpack (that I will carry) and weighed them. My duffel can only be 25 lbs. Then, I unpacked it all and put it into my suitcase for the airplane. I will bring a suitcase, and it will stay at the Lodge while I am on the mountain. OBC has provided an excellent packing list, and I am following it religiously.
My girls and I are all a little hesitant tonight. I will miss them like crazy. They aren’t sure they want to try life at home without Mom. Cameron has stated a few times that she wanted it to stay Saturday forever; she’s not looking forward to Sunday. Luckily, we all have Markus – he is our rock, and convinces us all that everything will be fine.
One more sleep, and I am on a plane to Africa…a dream come true!!!!!
(This post was posted from my phone – to practice for the mountain!)
This morning I went for my last long walk before I leave. It was cold, snowy, and they had not plowed the sidewalks yet. We were walking in several feet of snow at some points! We went for about 2.5 hours, and over 12 km. Our pace was slower, due to the crazy snow.
At this point, I can just hope that I have done enough training and will be ready to conquer the mountain – I have run out of time to do much more.
If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, you will know that part of my challenge in preparing for this trip was to improve my upper body and core strength. It needed work. I started my fitness challenge unable to complete 1 military style, nose to the ground push-up. This morning I did 10! I will admit, they were slow, but I did it. Thanks to Cindy for the encouragement and drive to make it happen!
Thanks to all my wonderful family & friends, my gear “wish list” is almost complete. I have borrowed a great sleeping bag, thermarest mattress and a Z-foam mat, so I will sleep comfortably. I received lots of last minute necessities – including a new headlamp, hut booties, water bottle and water bottle parka, liner socks, gaitors and toque. My husband gave me the most recent Garmin 910XT watch. It includes an altimeter and tracks the grade I am walking. I took it on a test walk, and the steepest grade I could find was on Montreal Street – 26%
Who knew one trip could require so many new items?!
Today, my husband and I joined other Kili 2014 team members and mountaineer Angus Murray on a training hike on the Bruce Trail. The purpose of the hike was to try out our gear in conditions typical to the Summit of Kili, assess our fitness level and have fun! Angus has climbed Kilimanjaro seven times and he taught us techniques we will use for high altitude climbing, (the rest step, power breathing, pole use), and tips on packing and organizing our gear. We discussed nutrition on the mountain and what chocolate bars are still edible in -20 weather (Wunderbar and Bounty), where to store snacks in your parka to still access them with your gloves on, and the etiquette of voiding in the bush when wearing multiple layers.
I am happy to report that I had a great day! I was warm (which is an accomplishment – it was -21 with the wind chill, and we were outside from 10-3:30). My feet didn’t hurt. I had no problems keeping up with the group and was not tired or sore the next day. We left the day sharing big hugs with my future climbing partners – looking forward to seeing them in less than a month, at the airport!!!
I have been asked on a few occasions if I received my passport yet…..the wait is over. My passport arrived in the mail today, and has a Tanzania Visa inside! One piece of this preparation puzzle is complete!
In May, I started my training and it was hot, humid and I had to consider how to keep myself cool. Today I had a 13 km walk around Midland. It was freezing rain, snowy, slushy damp and cold. In Midland it has taken 6 months to experience the dramatic weather shift. On Kilimanjaro it will take 5 days to transition from tropical to polar climate!
Outward Bound Canada has started to blog about the 2014 Kilimanjaro Expedition. Each week, they plan to post articles featuring the participants that will be raising funds for OBC and climbing Kilimanjaro. I am the first climber featured 🙂
When we are on the mountain, they will continue to blog, sharing our journey on a daily basis.
Today I had my appointment at the Simcoe Travel Clinic. I have all of my prescriptions ready to go – Malarone (for prevention of Malaria), Diamox (to reduce symptoms of acute mountain sickness) & a broad spectrum antibiotic. I have an oral vaccine for traveller’s diarrhea ready to take 2 weeks before I leave. I also received vaccinations against Typhoid, Hep A and got my flu shot! Here’s to staying healthy during this adventure! 🙂
Today I applied for my Tanzania Visa. This process involves sending my passport in the mail – which is a little unnerving…but they promise me I will see it again. One more step in making my dream a reality.
I first learned about the opportunity of this adventure in November, 2012. I submitted my application video in April, 2013. It became a reality that I will be going to Tanzania in May, 2013. It seemed like a long way away…..
Two months from today – I start my adventure.
The reality is setting in. I feel like the majority of my preparations are falling into place – medical, fund raising, fitness training, gear, etc. However, the thought of being away from my family for 12 days is not getting any easier.