Top of the World

I made it to the top with Jordyn and Robert. Could not have asked for better hiking buddies!

Made it to the top with these two amazing people, Jordyn and Robert. Could not have asked for better hiking buddies!

It’s hard to even begin describing last week. Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro for 7 days was beyond my wildest imaginations. First of all, the idea of living on a mountain for a week had me apprehensive to say the least. I knew we would sleep on the ground in tents and go without a shower. That in and of itself was scary for me. I love my sleep and showers. But, on top of that, we would be climbing to 19,341 feet and hiking over 40 miles.
It was absolutely amazing. Something about living in a tent and minimizing your needs for a week is freeing and calming. I felt more myself. No cell phones, no internet, no distractions. Just me, the mountain and two amazing friends that had me laughing the entire week. Just thinking about the week brings a huge smile to my face, because so many jokes and memories come rushing to my mind that make me laugh.
The sight at the top brought pure joy. We made it. Our guide had timed our ascent to the summit perfectly, so we arrived just as the sun was rising. My body held up and handled the altitude – well, maybe with the help of some meds – but all I felt was pure joy. A sense that we made it and it was a glorious sight.
I think that’s all I can say at this point – except I must give huge props to our tour company. If you think you may be interested, Zara Tours is the way to go. They are owned by a Tanzanian woman, have been in business for over 27 years and have very experienced guides from the local community. They were professional, fun, and supportive the entire journey.
Here are a few of my favorite photos, but I’m sure I’ll share more in the weeks to come.
View of the top from our hotel in Moshi.

View of Kili from our hotel in Moshi.

Day 2

Day 2

One of our camps on the mountain. We woke up to the most gorgeous views!

One of our camps on the mountain. We woke up to the most gorgeous views!

Getting closer.

Getting closer.

The crew. Two sisters from Sweden were part of our group. They made it to the top as well. Our tour company was very proud!

The crew. Two sisters from Sweden were part of our group. We had a great time with them! They made it to the top as well, so our tour company was very proud!

Clouds and Mt Meru in the distance.

Clouds and Mt Meru in the distance.

Who needs a dining tent when the sun is this bright and warm!?!

Who needs a dining tent when the sun is this bright and warm!?!

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This was one of our favorite spots on the route.

I think we could do an ad for the "Buff".

I think we could do an ad for the “Buff”.

Just past Stella Point, we left to our left and saw the orange tint of the sun coming up...

Just past Stella Point, we looked to our left and saw the orange tint of the sun coming up…

Most amazing sunrise.

Most amazing sunrise from the summit.

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Pure joy.

Glacier at the top. Absolutely beautiful.

Glacier at the top. Absolutely beautiful.

In all honesty, the trip would not have happened if it weren't for this gal. Jordyn organized us and made it happen. I love this sweet friend and this experience has bonded us for life!

In all honesty, the trip would not have happened if it weren’t for this gal. Jordyn organized us and made it happen. I love this sweet friend. This experience has bonded us for life!

Hmmmm...Yes, it took this many people to get 5 of us to the top!

Hmmmm…Yes, it took this many people to get 5 of us to the top!

Our guides, Mndeme and Salim, were with us every step of the way. They are the best!

Our guides, Mndeme and Salim, were with us every step of the way. They are the best!

Looking back on our accomplishment.

Looking back on our accomplishment.

Ngong Hills

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“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

Quite possibly the most recognizable sentence by ex-pats in Nairobi, these words open Karen Blixen’s memoir “Out of Africa”. Blixen was a Danish Baroness who spent 17 years in Kenya, a British colony at the time. The book and later produced movie chronicle her life in the colony and pay great tribute to the beauty of the land and people of Kenya.

This past Saturday, we hiked the Ngong Hills, peaks in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley that overlook the Nairobi suburb, Karen, named after Karen Blixen. There are four main, knuckle-shaped summits. The rolling hills were a great way to train for Kili. We completed more than 16 kilometers since we covered all the hills and hiked back to the start. It was challenging but enjoyable. The views of Nairobi and the Great Rift Valley make the hike worth the trouble. We even got a glimpse of Mt. Kenya.

Not the best photo of me, but these are my hiking buddies that will attempt to summit Kili with me.

Not the best photo of me, but these are my hiking buddies that will attempt to summit Kili with me.

Longonot

In preparing to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, my friends and I have started hiking the hills in Kenya. Last Saturday, we hiked Mt Longonot. Longonot is an hour drive from Nairobi along the eastern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. It is a doormat volcano thought to have last erupted in the mid 1800s. From the bottom, it is beautiful. From the top, breathtaking. It took us about an hour to get to the rim then almost three hours to walk around the crater. Only stopping for short snacks and to take in the view, we completed the hike in 4.5 hours.
Until yesterday, it had not rained since Christmas Eve. You can imagine how dirty we were with all the loose gravel and dust we stirred up hiking. The hot shower and sushi for dinner was a nice way to end a perfect Saturday.
View from highest point of Mt Longonot

View from highest point of Mt Longonot