Editor’s Note: For the second time in two years, Zephyr’s Erika Helstrom made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro last week, along with seven of our Zephyr travelers. These are some of the quick highlights she sent us prior to heading to volunteer at KYGN (Kilimanjaro Young Girls in Need) in Moshi, Tanzania for the next two weeks.
The weather. It was absolutely gorgeous! Naturally it became colder as we ascended the mountain, but we couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions for our epic adventure.
Watching the landscape change drastically each day as we walked from the rainforest to the moorlands, heading up to the rocky volcanic terrain, and finishing at the summit, which allowed us breathtaking views of glaciers (which are melting at an alarming rate — it’s projected that they will melt off by 2022) and the ability to peer into the vastness of the crater below.
The screams of excitement after catching our first views of the summit on Day 3 and seeing the how far we’d come (yet knowing how far we had to go).
Watching the mountain begin to take its toll after hiking 6 hours each day! In the early days of the trek everyone’s enthusiasm for maintaining their “mountain appearance” by shaving and shampooing their hair was high (especially for the men). This quickly gave way to getting extra rest or spending time maintaining a journal.
A perfect group of travelers who really took the time to know each other and look out for one another throughout the trip.
Hiking above the clouds for much of the trek, giving us the feeling that we were headed to the top of the world. As we neared the summit it was amazing to watch the sun rise from so high up.
Seven of our eight trekkers made it to the top (the eighth trekker made it to 16,000 feet, her personal best). Some needed to go more slowly than others but “pole, pole” (slowly slowly) we all made it up at our own pace. A few experienced some mild to medium forms of altitude sickness, but all in all we all finished healthy, happy, and a little more rugged by the end.
Want to prioritize adventure and create your own “highlight reel” of memories? Join us on our 2013 Kilimanjaro Trek!