Thursday, August 18, 2011

D-10, Hike Kilimanjaro 2011! - August 18th, 2011

Today marks D-10 for "Hike Kilimanjaro 2011!"

I set out for this journey about a year ago. It was the step that I was taking to realize the dream that I had when I was seeing the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro that stood out over the white cloud in an airplane that was flying by the tallest mountain in Africa in 2009.

19,340 feet high... or 5,895 meter high...

Africa's roof...

The tallest stand-alone mountain in the world...

The Snow of Kilimanjaro...

The Leopard of Kilimanjaro...

Whatever it may be, it is an exciting dream of one's life time.

Some people call it "Every man's Everest" implying relative ease in climbing the summit. Well... only 40-45% of people who attempt the summit are successful in standing on top of the mountain. So it sounds like the description is downplaying the challenges that people need to overcome to be able to reach the summit.

We started as a group of 10 in August 2010. Quickly a couple dropped out since they changed their travel plan for their 30th anniversary. Out of eight, another dropped out when we had to change the route from the Marangu Route or "Coca Cola Route" to the Machame Route or "Whiskey Route." We now have to stay in the tents throughout the 5 night-6 day journey. Again out of seven, two people had to cancel their trip because of their family emergency. They made all flight reservations and payment for not only Mt. Kilimanjaro Hike but also a safari scheduled after the hike. It was unfortunate. But things like that happen in life.

So we are now a group of five: two from Rwanda, two from New York and one from S. Korea. Four men and one female. All are in their 50's. So we are the "Five of the Fifties."

To prepare for this hike, I have climbed the tallest mountain in Rwanda: Mt. Karisimbi at 4,508 meter high. I trekked 5 days in Colorado mountains. I have hiked for the past two months every weekend for 4-6 hours. I have also spent quite a bit of time strengthening my body fitness during the weekdays.

Whatever worth they may be, now we have left only 10 days before we will start our climbing on August 28th. I cannot deny some nervousness but rising excitements far outweigh the nervousness.

I have a dream... a dream of standing on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and of praying for Africa and people of Africa... praying for God's special grace upon them so that they may now experience the real freedom that comes only through the faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of all nations. May this dream come true, Lord. - Jeffrey

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