Ok – so finally, we get to Mt. Kilimanjaro!! First, I must tell you some geeky facts about the mountain, which I hope will paint a picture of our time there and then in maybe one or two more posts, more about what our time was like with ministry AND of course, the summit experience 🙂
First, some geeky facts! Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain in the world – standing at 19, 341 feet at Uhuru (Kibo) Peak. “Free standing” just means that it’s not a part of an existing mountain range. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world but it’s part of the Himalayan range. Literally, when you’re hiking to Kilimanjaro – which is the first 5 days of the trip – you’re not on the mountain. You’re in Kilimanjaro National Park and those 5 days of trekking get you to the mountain. YES, it’s quite a ways out (and the pictures will help you see this). Kili is also a volcanic cone – that’s why it plateaus at the top. From the rim, you can see the crater hole that at one time (?) erupted. By the way – people do hike down into the crater and CAMP! Yeah, pretty crazy especially when we saw footprints in the snow leading to the crater hole. Oh, and by the way, Kili is an “inactive” volcano, so let’s hope that remains true for any hiker who decides to stay the night inside of the crater ; ).
Mount Kilimanjaro is also the 4th most prominent mountain in the world and is part of the “7 Summits Club”. Crazy-serious mountaineers will spend their lives attempting to summit the tallest mountains on each continent so they too can join the ranks of being the few who achieve such a dangerous feat. This is most assuredly not an ambition of mine, but it was a blessing to attempt this mountain!
As you begin your ascent, you go through 5 different ecological zones! It is like climbing from the equatorial rain forest to the North Pole in the span of as few as 20 miles. You’ll notice these different climatic zones in the pictures as well. Also, there are about 20, 000 people a year who attempt to summit Kili and a success rate of 40-50%. This is part of the vision behind reaching the porters/guides with the gospel, because they can reach ten of thousands of people a year!
Ok, so onto one of my fave facts!! The tallest peak on Kili is called Uhuru, which is Swahili. The Chagga people gave it the name Kibo from their native tongue. Uhuru means – Freedom – which I absolutely fell in love with! So I asked my guide Muhammad what Kibo meant. He began to explain to me that when the Chagga people were standing at the highest point, there was only one word to describe it in Chagga: KIBO, which literally means WOW!! I just about fell over because that’s been one of my words as of late!! Haha! Wow and WOWZERS became more a part of my vernacular as God stunned me over and over again with provision and miracles through this trip. How fitting it was then, to be going towards a summit, whose name is “WOW”, with the mission of Christ in our hearts and the glory of the Lord displayed around us??!! Truly, KIBO!! Or as I affectionately infected my team with saying, KIBO-ZERS!, meaning “WOWZERS!”. I’m sure the Chagga people wouldn’t mind me adding to their language : D!
Ok, so without further ado, here are FINALLY some pics of our climb (and the crowd goes wiiilllldddd!)
Hope you enjoy ~ More GOD stories to come!