Recetnly my wife and I both turned 50. About a year and a half ago, we started planning an epic adventure for our 50th year. We started planning an unforgettable trip to Africa where the pinnacle would be the climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Now, we are NOT big hikers or climbers. We wanted to do something big, crazy, fun and out of the box. So last week, me, my wife and our daughter made this huge trek to the other side of the world!
Through Young Life, we were connected to some great hero’s in Tanzania who are reaching out to the very poor. The first half of our trip consisted of serving these folks in a poverty stricken village. It was awesome.
The second half of the trip consisted of this crazy attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. The adventure was HUGE. The stress was massive. The victory would be epic!
On this climb, we travelled through 5 different ecological zones starting out in a rain forest on our way to the summit of 19,341 feet. Kili is the tallest free standing mountain in the world. The views were spectacular and the effort it took was massive. What an incredible thing to share with my family.
Night 5 was our “summit attempt.” We left our base camp at 12:15 am and hiked all through the night. Freezing temperatures, gusty winds, isolated in your thoughts, seemingly endless assent through the night.
Then, after 6 hours of hiking, the sun began to rise over Africa. We were near the top! As the air got warmer and thinner, we could finally see our final destination.
We made it to Uhuru peak, the “rooftop of Africa.” The highest point on the continent. What an accomplishment! And further, what an experience to share with my wife and daughter. During the final ascent, there were struggles for all of us. Our guide referred to this final ascent as “entering the battlefield.”
There is no replacement for your presence when your family is in the middle of a battle. We now share a deeper bond than ever before because we fought through a significant battle together.
I couldn’t miss the opportunity to have a little wardrobe change on the summit. I wanted to let Africa know that we have a few “rules” involved if you want to date my daughter!
There were many take-a-ways from this adventure:
1. I can do more than I thought I could. (and so can you)
2. I don’t need to be afraid of trying something big (neither do you)
3. When alone in my battle, God gave me strength to press on. (and will also to you in yours)
4. Embarking on a HUGE adventure with my daughter was HUGE for both of us.
Disclaimer: Do not be intimidated by this African/Kilimanjaro adventure. Start small and plan a very attainable adventure. It will do wonders for your relationships if you would stop long enough to take your loved one’s on some kind of adventure.