A Guy, a Girl and a Dormant VolcanoGuest Post from Mojhi

I’m always stoked when others who believe in a good adventure reach out to me and want to share on my blog. So when the good folks at Mojhi said they wanted to share about Mount Kilimanjaro – I felt obliged to share! So, here you go:

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A first hand account of hiking Mount Kilimanjaro from Mojhi:

If you watch carefully, you might notice that couples who share interests seem to fare better than others – and for those who are into getting out and having an adventure – we like to think they fare the best.

One of our favorite things to do together is hiking, something about being alone with one another, surrounded by nature, walking through pristine forests or up the side of a huge mountain is extremely appealing to me and in that vein, a couple of years ago we decided it was time to conquer Africa’s tallest mountain; Mount Kilimanjaro.

Three months and 5,181 kilometers later, we were in Tanzania with only one goal in our minds, climb this volcano. There’s a couple of things you should know about why this mountain in particular is such a big deal, it’s the world’s tallest freestanding mountain; which means it doesn’t form part of a mountain range, it’s a dormant volcano, not dead, but dormant which means it could still sputter back to life and wreck everyone’s day at a moment’s notice and finally, as with all good things in life, it needs to be worked for. Sure, it’s not the most difficult or the most dangerous climb in the world; you just hike up the mountain for the most part. No, it’s a challenge because of the sheer variety of scenarios you encounter and have to overcome on the way in order to summit.

Day one of the seven day hike saw us begin our journey, through a lush green tropical rainforest, it was hot, humid and wet, exactly how you would imagine it, but it was undeniably beautiful and full of sounds, every animal and insect out, trying its best to drown out the other guy, hoping that he’d find what we already had. Come noon and it was time to eat, the porters who were with the us cooked an entire meal consisting of soup to start with, loads of protein and carbohydrate rich food and a bunch of fruits. Everyone was ready, and then there was me, nothing but a backpack containing a couple of bottles of water, a phone and an external speaker, a paragon of “I’m in over my head”.

Being in a rainforest in a tropical country, we were inevitably met by our old nemesis, the mosquitos, only these mosquitoes had to have been the size of raisins and me being me, didn’t have any insect repellant and the recurring theme throughout this article is going to be me asking my girlfriend to save my life by letting me use something of hers that I should’ve brought for myself, “What would you do without me?” was the constant question I would be met with every time I thanked her for her kindness.  

Eventually, the rainforest gave way to sparse vegetation and the sounds of the forest started to die out as the altitude increased and the mercury fell, there was a marked difference between the two biomes, where one was lush and green, the other was arid and grey, covered in ash. It was like we had passed some sort of natural, territorial border and were in a different country, not unlike how you see languages, people and scenery change as you travel through different states in India.

There were plenty of times on our ascent where we considered throwing in the towel, only to be reminded by the other that we had come all this way to do one thing and that we absolutely had to finish what we had started, we found ourselves helping each other overcome every hurdle, one step after another, we were a team and there was no stopping us, eventually the altitude, dry air and biting cold, not to mention the wind blast, snow glare and lack of oxygen to name a few, made it extremely difficult to continue and our rest stops became increasingly frequent. Not a word was spoken, we would just sit down beside each other and in unison get up and trudge on through the ashy air and landscape until finally when we reached base camp and made our last push to the summit at sunrise the next day. After roughly eight hours of arduous hiking we made it. The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the most challenging thing we had ever attempted as a couple, at this point I pulled my phone and speaker out of my bag and in the shivering cold fumbled around as I tried to get them to connect and started to play Stairway to Heaven on full volume. It’s cheesy, I know, but I was quite literally on top of the world in that moment and I was sharing it with the girl I love, why not add the band I love to the equation?

The sense of accomplishment we shared in that moment I cannot describe, we had never felt such a connection at sea level and after spending about an hour or so on top of the world, we were ready to head back down and face whatever life could throw at us, together. We’ve never been closer and things have never been better since the hike, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.