Twice In Less Than 12 Months!!

I have a group of several friends who have hiked and trekked since college, starting in the Smokeys, throughout the Rockies, Sierras, Teatons, Grand Canyon, Alaska and Costa Rica. In 2003 we climbed Longs Peak, returning early to Denver for our flight home to Nashville. We had a day to kill so went to the Imax that was showing KILIMANJARO. After walking out of the theatre, we all said, "we can do that!"

We started to plan for winter 2005. The real spark plug was Ronnie, a bank VP, who pushed us all to train for altitude, get our shots, visas, etc.. Three days before we left, Ronnie called, telling me that the bank president had resigned, there was turmoil at work and that he would have to cancel. At first I really thought he was kidding. I couldn't believe it and felt terrible for him and the group but we were all set and couldn't reschedule. Before he hung up, he asked me to promise him that, if someday he could get another trip together, I would go back. At that moment I wanted to make him feel better so I said, "sure."

The rest of the group flew to Arusha, met our guide, trekked up the Machame route, and 5 or our 6 guys summitted on Jan 28, 2005. Everyone who has been there knows the exhilaration, sense of accomplishment, and pain. They also know the, " I'm sure glad that I've done this so I can get the heck down!" feeling. We took a short safari, then home. Ronnie met us at the airport and seemed just as happy as we were. Then he sprung it on me... he said, "I've cleared it with the bank and I can go in Jan 2006." I wanted to think of a clever way to tell him that, once is not only enough but it is more than enough, especially at 53.

Well the rest is history. We added a third friend, rebooked air, linked up with our guide and on Jan. 25, 2006, I stood on Uhura Peak for the second time in 12 months. (must give a plug for our fantastic guide, Ian Menja from Good Earth Tours --- without him it wouldn't have happened) .It's not often that we get chance for a "do over." I had the opportunity to fine tune the trek... taking a better sleeping pad, warmer gloves, a small thermos for hot tea, an umbrella and some nice gifts and more tip money for our guides, porters and cook.

Would I go for three? Maybe later. Last year we trekked to Everest Base Camp and Kalapattar. This year we'll stay closer to home.

MarkRassas MarkRassas
Mar 15, 2010