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Parker in Africa

Home > Parker in Africa > June 3, 2006

Parker in Africa - June 3, 2006

Dearest Friends and Family,

I made it to the top of Africa once again. Thanks for all your concern about my lack of health. I recovered remarkably quickly and felt really strong for climbing the mountain. You know, the last time I climbed Kili, I told myself that I would never climb again, but as I found myself on the slopes I realized what a crazy idea that was- it is really a fantastic mountain. This time I found it much easier which I contribute to a couple different factors- first, we took an easier route-the Marangu route. It is a very untechnical route and we completed our climb in 5 days. We stayed in huts all the way up and our porters cooked our food for us (granted the food was horrible and we only had one meal a day). second, I'm not a whiny 16 year old girl anymore, which really makes a difference, and when you are in charge of 22 students, trying to get them all up to the top, you have to be as strong as possible. Out of the 22, 13 of the students made it to the peak, 4 more made it to the crater rim, and a couple had to stop because of altitude sickness. All in all, it was quite successful and we had a great time. We also had amazing weather, and the beauty of the mountain keeps you going more than anything. IF you don't know already, on Kilimanjaro(original name is Kilimakyaro in Kichagga which means unclimbable mountain) you travel through several stages. You start the rain forest, which is full of hanging vines, colobus monkeys and baboons, and every shade of green you can imagine and you travel through this for about a day. On the second day you start up through the heath. The surrounding seem to change instantaneously. THen you get up into the desert, which looks just like any desert in the US, except it's cold and you just came up from the rain forest. From there it seems to step onto another planet-like Mars. Just red dust and rocks-no plants at all. Then on the slopes of the actual mountain you find sliding rocks until you reach the crater rim, which is filled with enormous glaciers. It's incredibly beautiful when you reach the top, and if you had enough energy you'd want to stay up there. I got the top soon after the sun had risen( you start climbing at midnight) and I felt like I was in heaven, looking around at the giant glaciers, and then down at the clouds below my feet. Truly one of the most remarkable mountains ever.

So, I have to make this letter kind of quick. School ends this week for about a month, so i plan on doing a little bit of traveling. Hopefully that means I'll be closer to internet more often. My plan as of now is to head over to Lake Victoria to do a little bit of bouldering, then hopefully go to nairobi and Mombasa before heading back to school to go to the National parks with my students. Not such a bad life after all...

Anyways, I'll be in better touch soon. Thanks again for all of your concern, and also for all of your support concerning the orphanage. I was quite overwhelmed with all the feedback I got from that. I hope you all enjoy the beginning of your summer and want to congratulate all y'all who are graduating-including my incredible sister (who is going to play ball for Fort Lewis) and all you 06's at Dartmouth, and also all you Ourayians who are graduating from college -wow, that freaks me out. I feel too old. Anyways, love you all so much and miss ya. I'll try to make these emails a bit more eloquent, cause I keep hearing that people are actually reading them.

Much love,