Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Months to Kilimanjaro

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I have less than 2 months before I leave for Africa to climb the highest free standing mountain in the world.  I am looking forward to the trip. 

From the top of Mauao
I have been putting so much of my energy into fundraising - it's time consuming work.  I'm also maintaining my fitness.   When people find out that I'm climbing Kilimanjaro the first question they ask me is, "What are you doing for training?"

Well my training consists of yoga and tramping.  I participate in Les Mills Body Balance classes at my gym every day of the week - they keep me strong and supple but at the same time centered and focused.  Mental strength is probably just as important as physical strength (if not more) for this expedition.

I am also lucky enough to live near an extinct volcano that I can climb as often as I wish.  I was trying to climb it 4-5 times a week but lately I've been so busy that I'm just getting up there once or twice a week - but I climb it twice in a row.

A few weeks ago I went on a 4 hour tramp to the top of the Pinnacles in the Kauaeranga Valley, carrying my big pack to stay overnight in the DOC  hut.  It was a beautiful hike and we had stunning weather for the middle of winter!  

The Kauaeranga Valley, New Zealand
It may not sound like much, but I feel strong and ready for Kilimanjaro.  I've spoken to quite a few people who have done it - some didn't train much at all, while others trained hard at the gym.  Some made it to the top, while others were affected by altitude sickness and didn't make it to the summit.  It sounds like luck of the draw.  I've been told that some people over train and then do the climb too quickly which is why they are affected by altitude.

Slow and steady wins the race.  

So I'm hoping that my breathing and meditation techniques will come in handy.  I'm not stressing.  I'll just do my best and pray I make it to the summit.  It wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't.  Just getting there and saying I was on Kilimanjaro is an accomplishment!  

Africa was never on my bucket list.  There was always something about Africa that scared me, whether it was the fact that you need to have so many immunizations and take pills to prevent malaria or whether it was the fact that it is just so third world.  But now that I've had the jabs for yellow fever, hepatitis, typhoid and flu, it doesn't seem so daunting.  And I am lucky to have friends who have relatives living close to where I'll be going, so I am making new connections and there will be someone there I can call on.  Africa looks to be an exciting place and this will be a real adventure.

But I still have money to raise to get there.  I need another $9,000 to cover my costs of this trip.  Over the next month I will be advertizing items that people have generously donated to be auctioned off to help raise the money I need.  The first week of September (which is Ovarian Cancer month) I will put all the items up on Trade Me - a New Zealand online auction site where people can bid.  If you live overseas and you see an auction you would like to bid on, please let me know and I can bid on your behalf OR we can make an arrangement before it goes to public auction.

Don't forget to follow along on facebook by liking Tracy Pepper's Expedition of Hope

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