Date: January 25, 2018
Location: Moshi, Tanzania
It’s 5:30am and I am too excited to sleep. We arrived at the Kilimanjaro airport last night in the dark so this new country still remains a mystery to me. As we made our way through the busy lines at the airport, there was a certain buzz in the air like I’ve never felt before. As I looked around at the crowd, I noticed a common theme of Tilley hats, hiking boots, and day packs. I assumed that everyone was sharing the same nervous energy that we had about the journey that lies ahead: Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest summit and the world’s highest free-standing mountain.
My husband is fast asleep beside me in bed, tired from our long journey to this new and exciting destination. As my senses become orientated to where I am, I can hear the soft, faint sound of music – religious chanting of some sort off into the distance. This piques the curiosity of my other instincts. My nose detects the intoxicating aroma of bacon in the air. Wait, what? Bacon? Yes … bacon! The kitchen’s staff must get an early start in preparing for its hearty morning brunch. My tired eyes are blurry but they slowly come into focus as I stare up at the white mosquito netting that covers our bed at the Stella Maris Lodge. Then, it sinks in … I am in Africa. All my life, I have dreamed about visiting Africa and here I am! I shoot out of bed with excitement and draw back the curtains. In the dim light of the early morning I can see the impressive silhouette of the magnificent Kilimanjaro off into the distance. Excitement, tainted with slight apprehension, fills my body in anticipation of this new adventure! Only one year ago, the idea of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro seemed impulsive and unattainable but here we are, about to embark upon this 7-day trek up this dormant volcano. As I stare out the window, I can’t help but wonder if we will be amongst the many who have victoriously conquered this mighty mountain … or if we will fall amongst the many who have become defeated by its greatness.