In my Expedia account today I noticed that my flight to Tanzania is in seven weeks. It hits me that I have not trained hard enough and I have not been focused enough on general preparations. I hope to adjust this over the next week. In my final month I think I will spend much time around Mount Washington. There is nothing like actually hiking up a mountain to prepare you for hiking up a mountain, yup that simple. It is somewhat appropriate as well because it was on Mount Washington that I first developed my love of hiking. I believe there are things that we do in life that stay with us forever and for me my first hike to the summit of Washington was one of those life events.
Since that first hike up Mount Washington I have hiked in many places and on every continent. So now it is time to change up “the game” a bit and the change is to make it a bit more unique. Kilimanjaro is unique and a place to go to test yourself, I will be taking the western approach. It should be noted that Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain in the world. Ernest Hemingway’s book “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” has a great couple of lines in it:
“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai ‘Ngaje Ngai’, the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcas of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”
What am I seeking? From starting in a rain forest, my path, has me continuing up to more barren surfaces to points where you no longer see life all around you and of course glaciers. I think that this hike is going to be an eventful trip and I feel this way because of experience. Just as Antarctica was a view into a strange crystal desert – I believe Kilimanjaro will provide a view into my soul.
Any lover of telescopes will tell you that for the best viewing you will want to get away from the light pollution of cities and they are right. As for the hike, with getting into the wilderness you get rid of the pollution of civilization. I particularly like the idea of not showering until you come back down from the mountain, as it is hard to get away from nature when you are covered in her. It is funny, as we try so hard to keep nature out of our lives, we have climate controlled houses, cars, and even public transportation no stone is left unturned to save us from actually dealing with nature. Well, while on Kilimanjaro that will not be an option, hiding from nature that is. I suppose my next hike of any magnitude post Kilimanjaro will be in southern Azerbaijan in November or in Armenia as a tack on to this year’s IGF Conference in Baku.
So, I am prepared, as my boots are broken in and my mind is settling in on the task at hand. I am wondering what my travel clinic will say, what shots I will need and what pills I should take along with me. I will not be worrying about what is on my iPod because I think it will get as much use on kili as it did in Antarctica. That would be none. I suppose the last thing to say in this post is,”Let’s go Sixers, Let’s go”, have a great holiday weekend everyone!
p.s. Do not forget today is the last day to get my eBook “Going to Antarctica” for free.