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Elle est Forte - Kilimanjaro Memories

City Slicker

Elle est Forte - Kilimanjaro Memories

It felt other worldly as I put one foot in front of the other on that full moon lite night. The bright orb was so close it looked like you could reach out and touch it. Below my feet the soft pillowy dirt fragmented with rocks and the occational boulder was unlike any terrain I've ever crossed. I fancied myself an astronaunt on a moon walk. You might think so too if you had seen me in my four coats, three pairs of pants, double goves and I honestly forget how many pairs of socks and underwear. And if that didn't convince you, then my deep labored breaths akin to either the Sith Lord or a space suited Sandra Bullock via Gravity just might. 

It's 3:00am but I couldn't have told you the time. At 17,000 feet my oxygen deprived brain was a blur of sleepiness and a few short lines I had been repeating to myself for five days now. "Elle est forte" meaning, she is strong. I take a deep breath and tell myself, "I will walk...(another deep breath)...and not grow weary...(deep breath)." Over and over I said those two phrases to myself on that freezing mountainside. 

Why does someone decide to climb Kilimanjaro? What possess someone to think that will be a great way to spend vacation? "Are you crazy?" I heard that question more than once. 

The answer, "No, I'm not least not by my definition." 

As to the why, well, when you reach the summit you just know.

I climbed to prove to myself I am stronger than I think. No matter what obstacles life throws at me and no matter what challenge lies ahead...I've got this. I put one foot in the front of the other and made it to the top of Africa. I had never camped in my life. It was dangerous. I had little experience. In the end none of that mattered. 

I believed I could reach the top, and so I did. Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit Sunrise 9/6/17Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit Sunrise 9/6/17The roof of Africa - 9/6/17The roof of Africa - 9/6/17