The reactions I have gotten when I tell people we are climbing Kilimanjaro, have been everything from “Wow!” to “Why would you do that?”.
Although I grew up close to the beach in Southern California, I have always been someone who is more mountains than beach. As a kid I enjoyed the life of both – spending time in the ocean and learning to ski (and loving it), from a very young age. Through skiing I developed my sense of adventure and choosing a college in a mountain town was of high priority to me. After college I spent four years in Alaska and it was there that my love for hiking began. Alaska provides the most incredible scenery and Alaskans truly love the outdoors and are passionate about getting out and enjoying it. I would venture out hiking with friends or on my own and the combination of the physical exertion, challenge, and beauty made me love it. Sitting at the top of a mountain and taking in the view, especially in my solitude, really felt like living life to its fullest.
I also started running and racing when I lived in Alaska with one particular event combining my love for mountains, challenge, and competition – Mount Marathon. In 1995-97 I ran/climbed this treacherous race which is a 3.1 mile race with an elevation gain of 3,022 feet, with the course averaging a 34 degree incline. Check it out: http://mmr.seward.com/
Here are a few photos from my first race in ’95 – a spur of the moment decision the night before! My time was 1:44.
A couple more photos from some of my hikes in Alaska – the first one is at the top of Mt. Marathon.
It’s been almost 20 years now since I moved to Chicago which I lovingly call the flattest place in America, and I don’t get a chance to climb many mountains these days. However, we are a family that loves to ski so we enjoy and love the views, while flying down on skis and snow.
So why do I climb mountains? Why am I climbing Kilimanjaro?
- The allure of Africa and the experience of a place far from my everyday ‘normal’
- To ‘live my dash’
- To show our kids you can set goals (crazy goals) pursue them and achieve them
- To learn patience, persistence, gratitude
- Finding joy in the exhaustion and physical exertion, and sense of accomplishment
- To pursue the summit but also find peace and experience in the journey
- To find quiet away from the “noise” of everyday life
- To meet and know people who live so differently from me
- To change my perspective
- To see if I can do it
- And do all these things with my partner in all things… Tim!