February 18 Sharing the Moments
Last night after I reported to you we had an amazing time. Not long after I called the clouds parted and Kibo, the giant, glaciated, massive top of Kilimanjaro was spread out before us. None of us could believe that we had been up there that morning, it seemed so far away and high in the sky.
We sat there in our chairs; there was a lot of Coke and Beer. Don Matthews and Doc had sort of cornered the Coca-Cola market at the Millennium Camp. They had told the Park Wardens the day before that their group was coming and they were going to drink a lot of Coke. We did have a pretty good stock, although we ran out of Coca-Cola pretty early in the afternoon. There were some Kilimanjaro and Safari beers as well, Safari Lager beers. These beers are very appropriate for this group having just climbed Kilimanjaro successfully and who are now ready to depart on a Safari adventure.
So we sat around as the clouds parted and we looked up at that massive mountain we had climbed and we just sat and visited one another. Cherry spoke first and spoke to the group about how even though she had not been to the summit she felt so proud to be a part of the team. Their success of those who went higher were part of her and she was really proud of everyone.
Then Susan spoke about how early in the trip she had some bad days, feeling ill and not well at all and how well cared for by other team members she felt. She then mentioned many others who had their up days and down days, but we’d always stuck together and cared for one another.
Then Doc spoke. Doc who as a physician has been valuable to us, but always with his love of the mountain and his inspirational words has probably even been more valuable to this group. He tried to tell the group how special they were and how remarkable their achievement had been. No one has ever done anything like this. And then he spoke with the bluntness which is typical of many physicians, he said when I saw your medicals in my office before I left, I honestly thought there were about 11 of you that had a good chance of standing on top of Kilimanjaro. And then he said when I examined and interviewed you when you got to Tanzania, I thought about 8 of you could make it to the top. And then tears came in to Doc’s eyes… [break in transmission]
And then tears came to Doc’s eyes as he looked around at the group and he said you all made it, you ALL made it because of teamwork and because you could inspire one another and keep going. He said it’s going to be hard for you to understand but I hope you will know how special and remarkable this achievement has been for this group.
I’m going to say right now that it is amazing; no one could believe the success we’ve had.
There were 43 of us who started 9 days ago and the entire team is walking off the mountain together today. 40 of us stood on Stella Point on the top of Kilimanjaro, 36 of us spent the night sleeping at 18,700 feet (5700m), nearly as high as any point in Canada, almost to the top of Kilimanjaro and literally in the crater at the top, higher than anyone else in Africa, higher than almost anyone else anywhere in the world, we spent the night there. And of course 30 of us did stand over two different days on Uhuru, Freedom Peak. An amazing accomplishment.
I can tell you as we walk off the mountain, groups from around the world are coming up to this group, we’re well known believe me and we’re getting congratulations and words of praise and admiration from people all over the world. Here on Kilimanjaro, this accomplishment of the BCACL team feels good today but I know it’s going to last for a long, long time when people around the world begin to talk about what they saw these 9 days on this mountain and what this great group accomplished together.
Wally called in as the group was driving back to Arusha. They were about 2 hours away from their hotel and more importantly the swimming pool at the hotel where many of the team members will find themselves tomorrow during their day off. There will not be a dispatch tomorrow during the team’s day off but starting Monday we will have many photos and new stories to share as the team starts out on their safari.
All Text, Images and Audio Files © Berg Adventures International 2006