When I woke up on the first morning after our first night’s camping I got my first proper glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro and then that’s when it hit me ‘what on earth am I doing?’!
It had been a dream of mine to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for about 10 years. A friend at college went to climb it with her mother and I thought ‘I could do that’. But now I was standing at the base of the mountain, I really was thinking ‘you stupid girl!’
But the fears soon went as I enjoyed the climb.
We took a route called Rongai which starts at the north east side of the mountain. It is the second easiest route on the mountain, which is one of the reasons why we chose it, but also because it is a far quieter track.
We started the hike on Tuesday 11th September. It really was a relief to finally start the hike. I had had the journey from hell trying to get to Tanzania. It all started a couple of weeks before when I was told that I could not leave the USA as I had a green card (work visa) application in process. Together with my lawyer I tried every avenue to work out how I could leave the country to go to Africa but everything was stacked against us.
However, just 12 hours before I was meant to leave I received a phone call from my lawyer explaining that the whole of my green card application had been lost and therefore I could leave. It was a mad dash to get everything ready but I finally boarded the flight the next morning, set for the UK.
I arrived in the UK on the morning of Sunday 9th, Dad picked me up and frantically drove back to Brockenhurst, I packed more of my things and then we frantically drove back to Heathrow. At 8pm that evening I boarded a flight for Amsterdam.
This was it, or at least I thought. I am finally going to Africa to fulfil my dream of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. But, oh no, I should have realised by now that it was not going to be that easy! I landed in Amsterdam and went to get a hotel only to find out that all my bank cards would not work in any of the ATM’s in Amsterdam! Great! This led me to my first experience of sleeping on top of my bags in a foreign airport. Oh the joy!
After numerous attempts to use my card the following morning at the bureau de change, my card was finally accepted and I managed to get some money to pursue my journey. I eventually got on the flight to Kilimanjaro and slept the whole of the 8 hour flight! Bear in mind, until the flight I had had only 8 hours sleep in 60 hours – I was exhausted.
Again, I made the fatal mistake of thinking that I was finally on my way! Surely nothing else could go wrong?! I landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport that evening at about 9pm and waited for the tour company to pick me up. But no that would have been easy! Because of all my problems with the green card I was actually on a different flight to my co hikers; they had arrived the night before. I had told the tour company that I would be on the following days flight and my friends had told me that they would ensure that there would be somebody to pick me up. However, there would have appeared to be some bad communication somewhere along the line.
... read more of her story at http://www.lizmillerskiracer.com/page2.htm...
If you would like to see photos of the trip they are on the internet at:
and to read about the other girls experience you can read them on the blog at:
Thank you once again everyone, I have been amazed at the amount of support I have received from family and friends from all over the world.