Monday, December 15, 2008

To Kili or not to Kili

This is, indeed, the question.

Folks, I have a bit of a dilemma on my hands. Two of the things I really want to do while I'm in Africa are go on a safari and climb Kilimanjaro. A teacher from my old school did both a few summers ago, and her stories... oh my word! If I though I wanted to do these things before, I REALLY want to do them now.

Camping? In the SERENGETTI? Roars of LIONS in the (hopefully very very farr-off) distance? HECK YEAH! The safari should be no sweat to pull off. Masai Mara, Serengetti, Ngorogoro Crater... I'm hoping to book a one-week or so trip once my official assignment is done at the end of July.

It's Kilimanjaro that's proving a little bit difficult. It's a freaking huge mountain (and I SO want to climb it! Oh my goodness, how AMAZING would that be?). But here's the issue. I have a month off in April when I could do it, but April is the rainy season in East Africa, and, by all Kili websites, pretty much the WORST month to do Kili. So I'm hoping to tack it on to the end of my trip as well. I'm a little concerned about the time crunch. Finish in Korr July 31-ish, maybe a day or two of debriefing in Nairobi, then a week for a safari, a week for Kilimanjaro, and that doesn't put me back in Vancouver till mid-August. That's all fine and good, but, um, this all is going to be a pretty intense experience, and I want to leave myslef enough time to decompress at the end of it before jumping back into the other intense experience of teaching back in a Canadian inner city environment. I'm hoping for at least three weeks, I think, one of which will be spent back in the classroom setting up for the new school year. It makes the timeline very tight.

And then there' s the little issue of training. I'm not exactly in shape now, and I'll be living in the desert for seven months before wanting to do Kili. Not exactly lots of opportunity for hiking out there. I could run maybe (um, among scorpions and puff adders and hyenas?) and work out on my own I guess (core strength and squats here I come!), but I'm kind of concerned about the whole training thing. Kili isn't exactly cheap to do, and if I'm spending a good chunk of my money on doing it, I don't want it to be a waste if I can't haul my own butt up the side of the mountain!

And then again there's the gear. There's a reason you hear talk of the snows of Kilimanjaro. It's COLD up there! So I'll have to be bringing my hiking boots, trekking poles, and all manner of warm winter wollies to sit in an abandoned corner of the desert for seven months. That's some valuable packing space - and weight! - that would be taken up for just a one week adventure.

Hmm... so it is at all feasable? I don't know. Practical? Heck no! But worth it for the adventure of a lifetime? I think so, but I'm not sure...

PLUS, as of yet I don't have a partner that I'll be spending time with in Korr. I'd be Safari-ing and Kilimanjaro-ing all by my lonesome. It's kind of not my ideal. (Unless someone out there wants to take a vacation to Africa in July/August??? Come visit meeeeee!).

So, readers, if you were me, what would you do? Go big or go home, practicality be darned? Be willing to spend the money and bring the gear for the possibility? Or resign myself to the realization that it's just not going to work, and promise myself that I'll get back there one day, which realistically may never ever happen... (and just won't be the same, according to this image)

What to do? What to do? I really want my face beside this sign!!!

9 comments:

leesepea said...

If you want your face beside the sign, I could show you a couple of tricks using PhotoShop...

In all reality, it sounds like the experience of a lifetime.

It also sounds like it is going to be hella hard to squeeze it in during your trip.

Unless you went camping during your month off in April and moved the Kili climb up a week...

I personally would never even think of attempting it. Of course I'd also never dream of going to Africa. Particularly without a travellng companion. The idea of climbing the mountain alone seems a little crazy. I mean, you'd have to sign up to go with an experienced crew etc., but what if you got hurt or sick?

Tons to consider!

Not sure I'm of any help, but I had to weigh in on this one.

Good luck with your decision :)

Hillary said...

Hehe! I love the photoshop tip, Leesepea! :)

I'll calrify, I won't be doing Kili alone, I'd be with a tour group with experiecned guides (I think there's one guide/porter per climber, actually), but just not with a friend! :)

So I won't count on you and the sweetpea joining me in July? ;)

leesepea said...

No no no no no no.

First time parenthood is enough of an adventure for me! The furthest from home we'll be travelling will be a 30-minute drive to visit family.

Enjoy!

Erin said...

I think you should go for it! It is truly the opportunity of a lifetime..the kind of thing you will regret if you don't do it. Even if you don't have a climbing buddy it would still be amazing! You might even have an opportunity to make a new friend! :) I would go for it! :) Have fun!!!

naclydogg said...

YES you should go, but take a couple of days longer than a week, the chances of getting altitude sickness drops considerably with each extra day This site is for a company that does trips, but it seems to have some good info http://www.ultimatekilimanjaro.com/acclimatization.htm#hape

nachtwache said...

Chance of a lifetime. If it's doable, do it. You'll be making new friends in the group you go with. You're probably in better shape than many people since you are very active here as well with hiking, dancing.... I'm just thinking of your photo where you jump...

Anonymous said...

My friends climbed part way up Kili and had a great experience going to the 'first' camp. I did a safari by myself in Kenya and had a fantastic time - one of the best trips of my life.
Gisele

AfricaBleu said...

Skip it and go to Malindi. Much less work and oh, the paradise of it all!

Kaz said...

As long as you are back by September. :-)

I think if you don't make every effort to do it, you will regret it or at the least wonder what if. So go for it.