Pre Mountain Climb

Day 1 getting there

Gary 3:04 a.m., Amsterdam layover.

“See that mountain over there, yeah, one of these days I’m going to climb that mountain”

I heard this on the start of the Alabama song “Mountain Music”, about an old man talking to a young man about one day climbing a mountain that he knew he would never try. I am on a flight with my two sons to climb a mountain that I have seen twice, and in 24 hours will start climbing. Will we make it to the top? All we know now is we will try, and if we don’t make it, we will never lament about never trying. I hope at the end of the day that this will be another life lesson that will make them better men.

This blog is about a journey with Gary, Luke, and Gabe. We will go dark in a few hours, but use this to communicate to friends and family. We will post when we can and bring friends and family along on the adventure.

Luke, Amsterdam 8/8

Just arriving to Amsterdam, approximately 7:45 a.m. Feeling like a champ. Well, not really. Haven’t seen much yet, only airport interiors which it is interesting to see an airport without a Chili’s and McDonald’s next to every gate. We are all quite jetlagged and ready to arrive in Africa.

Gabe, Amsterdam 8/8

Left Boxville yesterday morning. Now chillin in the Amsterdam airport. Watched about five movies on the flight and didn’t sleep a wink. Excited to be on the mountain and ready to be in Africa!

Day 2

Gary, African Tulip Hotel, getting ready.

I forgot how painful 22 hours in airports and planes are, but we finally arrive in Africa. It’s worth the pain. Felt a little bad about taking an upgrade and leaving Luke and Gabe in the back of the plane on a long flight with bad food and crying babies, but they are young and can sleep sitting up and not be crippled at the end of the day.

I am finally out of cell range and contact with the world, which is a little scary, but after the last few days, weeks, and months is also welcomed. I stressed about preparation, work, if I am properly trained, and thoughts of will I return like the astronauts from the Planet of the Apes where I don’t recognize the world I left. Slowly, I am looking at the mountain and that’s all I have to worry about.

We talked to a family of people on the climb. They took the ten-day route and are struggling on the eighth day. They are attempting to summit. Temperatures are in the single digits, lack of sleep, crowded trails, trash, and bad food is what we are told to expect. I was prepared for this, I think. We chose the quickest way up and down, saving days for the beauty of Africa and warmer temperatures.

Luke

Another day closer to Kilimanjaro, arriving to Africa at 8:00 p.m. on Friday. It’s dark outside, but that doesn’t stop the locals of Arusha from getting out as we saw them shower the streets on the way to the hotel. The hotel hasn’t changed much from last time, still the same friendly people and Indian food buffets. Feeling pretty risky given the fact that our room was inhabited by mosquitoes and we opted out of taking malaria pills…until next time.

P.S., The only toiletries Gabe brought consist of a hairbrush and Gold Bond anti-chaff powder, and he has still yet to brush his teeth.

Gabe

Rough travels again. Didn’t catch a ton of sleep over the eight-hour flight mainly because of excitement…and flying through thunderstorms. Got a gnarly nosebleed on the flight, so God only knows how this 20,000 ft. altitude is going to treat me. Arrived at the Kilimanjaro airport around 8 p.m. It feels good to be in Africa again. The ride to the African Tulip Hotel was interesting as usual. It’s pretty awesome seeing how they live their everyday life. MOTORCYCLES EVERYWHERE. So these Africans must be pretty cool people. Also, mosquitoes everywhere. The staff at the tulip remembered us from our last trip and was very welcoming. Great people. Got all our gear in line for tomorrow morning bright and early. About to pass out and get some sleep for tomorrow!

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