To The Roof of Africa – I’m Totally Going to Cry

...BUT it will be so worth it. In August 2010 I will be climbing the tallest free-standing mountain in the world - Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. It may sound like an exciting adventure, but I'm doing it for a cause close to home - The Delta Hospice Society. ... Read More

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This is it… I think.


Well, after some soul-searching and pondering I have decided that this blog will be taken off-line in short order. I love that it’s served as a record that people keep coming back to, but I think it’s time for me to move on and let this blog drift off into the internet sunset.

I’m so grateful for your support and comments/messages, and would love to see you come along with me as I tackle other new, weird things. Why, just click HERE and you’ll be well on your way!

And please, feel free to make a donation in support of Delta Hospice. They’re an amazing organization, and I’m proud to be associated with them in even the smallest of ways.

Thank you so very much


Funny thing, this ol’ Internet of ours


So, once I returned home from my Kilimanjaro adventure, I took some time to re-acclimatize and get used to my North American ‘everything in excess’ surroundings again. I took some much needed “me” time, and then set about on another adventure of sorts: No More Mountains.

It was my shiny new blog about… well, this blog, I guess. (What a strange thing to do). All I knew is that I didn’t want to stop blogging, but I just didn’t feel that it was proper to continue with Climb for Hospice given that I had just, you know, Climbed for Hospice. So I went to work on creating a blog about a book about this blog.

It didn’t work. I did the best I could, then my brain said, “pffft, you can’t write!” and I listened. So I stopped writing. No More Mountains has been sitting quietly, patiently, hopefully for my return. Now I had TWO blogs that were sitting sentient. So, I did the only thing one can do in this situation… I started a new blog about the old blog and the old-new blog.

No, I totally didn’t do that.

In fact, I’ll be honest here, I tried to get rid of Climb For Hospice. I simply wasn’t using it anymore. But you know what? After a quick sniff around the stats, I saw that I have about 1000 hits A MONTH on this thing still! Crazy! Who knew?!

So now, as I ponder the next step, I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of you for stopping by and checking in. I love that there is a little time capsule of my adventure that people can access whenever they wish. Welcome, welcome, welcome!

We’ll chat soon…


Stepping Off…


I’ve never been good at goodbye…

“When you come to the edge of all the light you have, and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of two things will happen to you: either there will be something solid for you to stand on, or, you will be taught how to fly”

The Darkness of The Unknown

Aug 30, 2010 – Day Eight


The laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast day…

Mweka Camp to Marangu Hotel

Ali and I spent the night dreaming of home, showers and nachos. She cruelly called ‘shotgun’ on the shower back at the hotel, and needless to say, I wasn’t having any of that. I explained that we should resolve this in a mature fashion, given that we’ve just had a life-changing experience on this mountain. She agreed, and so we prepped for an all-out game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. However, just as the digital carnage was about to begin, in dawned on us that there was a bathtub AND a shower in the washroom back at the hotel. We both agreed that given the fact that we had no dignity, privacy or self-respect left, we would both be able to clean up at the same time. We devised a rock solid plan that would minimize exposure to one another, and then drifted happily to sleep to dream of soap, nail clippers, shampoo, towels, hot water, and no freaking tea!

And so, I present to you the FINAL team photo, and the one where I undoubtedly look the happiest I’ve been in days…

Just look at that fresh-faced gal! All ready to go and run down a mountain, onto a truck, and into a bath. I almost look relaxed!

It took us about three hours of knee-shattering, toe-destroying, hip-ratcheting trudging down from Mweka Camp to the final gate where the truck and porters were waiting. We waded through calf-high mud, endured Reggie’s foliage education lessons (ever tried to understand a Chagga man speaking Latin botanical phrases in English?), and lo and behold – we had our final reward:

We were thrilled to finally see The Beast That Brought us Here, as we now knew it as The Beast That Gets us Gone! We were ready to climb into the truck and go, but there were things to do yet – we had to get our certificates and sign out of the park. It was bittersweet, I can tell you that. Eight days ends here, with the signing of my name one final time. It would have been rather anticlimactic had we not been so bloody exhausted.

And so, finally, we piled into the truck and settled in for our hour-long drive back to the hotel. We were so thrilled at the prospect! We sat in relative silence as we reflected on the journey of the past week, and prepared for our reintroduction into society. We rumbled off, jerking and swaying on the rough, red road, looking left and right at the passing fields and brightly-dressed villagers. We were ready to go back now.


Five minutes after we started the drive home, we rolled to a halt in a small village and were told to exit the truck. What the …?!  WHY?!  Don’t you know how disgustingly dirty and smelly we are!? I mean, I’m sure you DO, but really, we’d like to go back to Marangu now. What could you POSSIBLY be stopping us for!? How cruel is this!? You bast… oh.

Ummm… ok… I feel like an ass now…

They made us lunch. The Marangu Hotel had arranged for lunch to be delivered to us on a humble, peaceful porch in a small, beautiful village. The lunch was really, REALLY good and we were so grateful and honoured. But my god we were ready to go home. The following photo fully sums up how Ali and I felt about this lunch:

We felt like such ungrateful jerks, but after eight days of camping and hiking, we just really wanted to get a move on. I do believe the sentence “eat quickly” was uttered more than once.

After lunch we threw ourselves back in the truck and rumbled off to cleanliness.

We arrived at the hotel, unfurled ourselves from the back seat, and limped quietly to our rooms. After struggling with the skeleton key, we finally opened the door, dropped our red-mudded boots, peeled off our sweaty packs, and wandered toward the bathroom. I rejoiced:

I spent an hour in the bath, scrubbing at my skin with two different bars of soap. I only got out of the bath because we had to meet up with our team of 17 one last time, but I promised myself that I would hop back into the tub as soon as we wrapped that up.

We found our team waiting for us at a long table, under a flowered archway. We gave them beer.

We gave them another beer.

They gave us certificates, sang us a couple of songs, we took some photos, and then… they were gone. 8 days with these 17 men, and after 1 hour, 2 beers and 3 photos… it ended.

From this:

To this:

8 months

263 blog posts

$12, 080 raised for Delta Hospice

2 life-long friends

8 days

19, 340 ft

1 summit.

And so, with clean hands, a clear heart, and honest pride, I said goodbye to Mt. Kilimanjaro and to Tanzania, Africa. To answer your question: no. I don’t think I’ll ever climb Mt. Kilimanjaro again. I’ll be back, I know, but I think Kili and I have had our time together. I can say goodbye to her…

…who I can’t say goodbye to is YOU.

What now? Where do I go from here? Without having to write to you each day, I’m feeling a little lost. That’s a big reason why it took me so long to write these final posts – because what happens when I’m done? For almost an entire year this blog and you readers have been the one consistent thing I had. And so saying goodbye is hard for me today… I can’t even see the screen through my tears, and that’s the honest truth.

I don’t know how to end this.

I need more time.

Maybe just one more day, ok?

Next time: Goodbye?

Aug 29, 2010 – Day Seven


Ladies and gentlemen…

The Final Kili Video Diary.

Next Time: Day Eight – Best. Bath. EVAR.

Aug 29, 2010 – Day Seven


Stella Point to Mweka Camp via Barafu

Let’s get off of this rock, shall we? I’ve left you hanging out up here long enough…

The  hike down takes about 1.5 hours, so it’s a heck of a lot faster than the hike up. However, it took me a little over three hours to get to the bottom because I kept stopping to try and convince my assistant guide to let me lay down and have a nap. Let me just remind you, I was not in the grandest of all head spaces at this point. No amount of begging, cojoling or bribing would get my guide to let me nap on the slope. What a jerk, eh? I mean, all I needed was 30minutes! I would meet him at the bottom! Sheesh… what a killjoy that guy was.

So…  I just want to say thank you to my assistant guide for NOT letting me nap on the mountain. That was a good call. You know, since I was looking to survive and all.

It was a long way down, and I was certainly happy to see the tent (do NOT repeat that to anyone, understand!?) at Barafu Camp again. I needed sleep. I crawled into my tent, and promptly took my daily dose of pills about seven hours too early. My brain was a mess. I was all over the place! I didn’t know what time it was, where I was, or how I was going to get moving again if/when my guide made me stand up.

We were allowed to sleep for an hour, and it was awesome. But we needed to get moving. We weren’t supposed to stay at Barafu Camp very long, so we had to get going ASAP. We were supposed to walk for about 4 hours down the mountain to Mweka Camp where we would stay the night. This is a loooooooooooooong day, dude.

I still hadn’t fully recovered from the climb, so the descent was hella slow. Painfully slow!  But my body simply would not move. I would take a handful of steps, then have to stop and lean on my walking stick. We had a love-hate relationship, that stick and I. It took us way too long to get to Mweka, but we eventually reached the camp (having painfully passed by a higher camp that we weren’t staying at. Dammit…) just in time for a quick dinner and, well…

Next Time: The Final Video Diary., and back to Marangu…