Kilimanjaro 19,340ft

Kilimanjaro was always something I said I would love to climb, but it was always the idea that “someday” I would do it and never really thought it would happen. When I was around 13, a family friend had just come back from climbing it. That’s when I first learned of the mountain. At the time they were hoping to climb all the 7 summits and I remember seeing the rocks they had collected from the top of the mountains they had climbed and all the interesting things they had brought back from their world travels. I thought to myself that would be something I would LOVE to be able to do.

Throughout high school I was very active and enjoyed nature, backpacking, dance, photography and spending time outdoors. As I got more involved with college, and career I found less time for hiking and even less time for doing the things I enjoyed, especially after becoming a mom. It was hard to find time to break away from everyday life, and make time to do the things I loved. Being a woman with an adventurous side can be hard to do in this day and age. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the smartest idea to  head out alone to the mountains, or go for a long trail run by yourself. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found it gets harder to find people who share that interest with you. And for both of you to have time to go on adventures with things like kids, family, and careers that all take priority. But I feel at home in outdoors, and as an artist nature is the most inspiring to me. I realized that to stay sane I needed to get outside more even if it meant just going running around the neighborhood. So few years ago I started running, then a friend got me into running races. I never had liked running before but now I had found something I was really into. I decided I would make an effort to make time for myself to do the things I enjoyed to do and I made sure to go hiking every weekend as well. I even started a hiking blog, (no longer online) but my first entry read “starting off small now but someday soon we hope to climb the highest US peaks, and then onto Kilimanjaro, and if we get really good someday maybe Everest!! Hey, anythings possible! And we are willing to try! So why not!” I wrote that just so I would have a first entry but who would have known climbing Kilimanjaro would actually come true! :)

Through my work at Wyle I met former Astronaut and mountaineer Dr. Scott Parazynski As a fan of the outdoors as well as space exploration, I am truly inspired by him and his remarkable life experiences. And I feel very lucky to be able to work with such a positive, inspirational person. It was through Scott that I met Nicky Messner a mountaineer who has also climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro among other mountains. You don’t meet many women that have climbed Everest, and traveled the world as she has, she is truly exceptional! As a woman she really inspired me to start living my dreams and turn “someday” into today.

I had mentioned to her that I would love to climb Kilimanjaro sometime but had no idea how to plan or go about it and had no one that I knew that would want to do it with me. Since she had climbed it before and knew a few other women who also wanted to climb it she decided to put together an all women’s group to climb the mountain together. So of course I seized the opportunity! I was thrilled that I had met a group of women with a similar adventurous side and that I was actually going to start living my dreams! We spent the next 10 months training, even going to Colorado to climb Mt. Belford. And on July 1st we left for Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro the highest freestanding mountain in the world. It was an amazing experience, everything I had dreamed of and one I will cherish forever!

View excerpts from my daily Kilimanjaro journal [HERE]

While on this exceptional adventure I used Spot Connect to track our progress. A GPS device that is capable of tracking your progress every 10 minutes as well as sending checkin/ok messages to your social networking groups. You can view a map of our route we took below.

VIew my other adventures on SpotAdventures

Cara -

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