I hope everyone is sitting down, because I’ve got some pretty big hiking news. Huge. But let me start at the beginning…
This summer, I turned 30 inside Yosemite National Park. It was an incredible experience, and it reminded me that there’s so many gorgeous places out there to hike. So when I started thinking about what epic hiking trip I wanted to take in 2018, I knew it had to be big if it was going to top Yosemite. I just didn’t know where to go.
Then I became an ambassador for Girls Who Hike, a nationwide women’s hiking club with chapters in every state. Through our facebook group I kept hearing other ambassadors talk about going to Machu Picchu and Kilimanjaro with WHOA Travel, a women’s adventure travel company. Some girls had gone in the past, and others were going in 2018. As they talked about how life changing and incredible their Kilimanjaro summit was, I couldn’t stop listening to their stories. I’d always thought that climbing Kilimanjaro was too hardcore, scary, and difficult for someone like me, but here were all these normal girls who had hiked it and loved it. Could I do this too? I began reading blogs about summiting Kili, and even read a book about one woman’s trip to the top. I read gear lists, looked at temperature/climate charts, and read lengthy posts on facebook about what people wore on the mountain. I googled “How to train for high altitude hiking” and learned about Diamox. And after a few weeks of slowly learning as much as I could about the mountain, I realized that I really, really wanted to do it.
But what if I got altitude sickness?
What if it was too hard and I didn’t make it to the top?
What if my bags didn’t make it to Tanzania with me and I didn’t have any gear?
What if something bad happend to me?
How could I afford it?
I had a million fears and no answers. Every experience I read about Kili was different, but all of them had the same message: you’ll never feel like you’re “ready” or that you can afford it, but this experience will change your life. I don’t know how my body would react at 19,341 feet, or how it will feel to climb up a mountain for 6 days. The only way to find out is to try it. And after many discussions with my husband, talking to my best friends about my secret dream to climb Kili, many online conversations with girls who had climbed Kili with WHOA Travel (and I even talked to one of the owners of WHOA who was super helpful!), and lots and lots of tears, I finally made a decision.
It’s official – next August I will be climbing Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain on earth!
I’ll be hiking the 7 day Machame route with WHOA Travel, which means that I’ll be summiting with a group of incredible female hikers from around the world! And many of the girls going on this trip will also be members of Girls Who Hike from all over the US. I’m doing the Hike + Yoga trip, which means that we’ll be doing daily intention setting, some guided meditation, and a bit of yoga and stretching as we make our way up and down the mountain. I’ll also be finishing the trip with a 2 day safari! It’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience and I seriously can’t wait. I have so much to do to get ready for Kili – new gear, tons of training, shots at the doctor, and a new passport – but I’ve got months to figure it all out. For now, I’m focusing on how exciting it is to sign up for an amazing and terrifying new adventure! And I’ll be blogging about it every step of the way.
Have you ever climbed Kili? Give me all your tips! And if not, would you ever climb Kili? What’s on your adventure travel bucket list?