“The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there’s a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.” David Attenborough
For the last couple of months I’ve been struggling to write. Fortunately, this has given me the extra time to de-clutter my life and, as a result, I’ve inadvertently re-discovered old books; random scribblings on paper and cards; and so many pre-digital photographs.
In particular, the photographic prints bring back so many memories. It’s not that I’ve forgotten them; it’s just that, these days, I rarely look at old photographs.
And while those memories remain tucked away in my heart, I’ve decided to share them on my blog. I think this might also be the inspiration I need to get writing again. After all, photography was always my first love …
At 5895 metres above sea level (19,340-feet), Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. Situated close to the equator, and distinctive for its snow-capped peak, Kilimanjaro attracts thousands of people every year, each hoping to hike to the summit.
I did this trek years ago, on the spur of the moment (and without much training). It was before I really got into hiking and, I suspect, one of the reasons I really love it now. On the final day, I remember huddling next to a small fire, removing my socks to warm my freezing feet over the flames, and then massaging them desperately to get the circulation flowing. The other hikers were preparing to resume the trek, but I was struggling to breathe and desperately trying to make my body co-operate.
I also remember the doubts that went through my mind at that moment. How easy it would’ve been to quit. To get back to a lower altitude where my head would stop pounding. Where I could breathe easily. Others were heading down, so why not me?
I suppose it comes down to my personality. I’m really very stubborn. Once I set my mind on something, I rarely give up, and this was no exception. At the time, the Kilimanjaro trek was the most challenging thing I’d ever done (I’ve since added to that list hiking in Alaska’s Denali National Park and trekking the Inca Trail in Peru). But, the truth is, I love challenging myself… and these are the type of trips that remain forever etched in my memory.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Tired and ready to quit? What did you do to motivate yourself to keep going? What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?
Keep reading for a recap of my Kilimanjaro trek Continue reading