Leaving the leopard at home…

20 Sep

So today I am flying to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.  When I first signed up for this expedition I thought climbing the mountain was going to be my biggest challenge.  6 days in total – 4.5 going up and 1.5 of coming down.  Over the past few months I’ve put in MANY miles of walking, climbed numerous hills, done hundreds of Burpees, too many sit ups… you get the picture.  The fundraising end of things wasn’t a big challenge either – so many people generously donated.  I honestly think the biggest challenge has been buying all of the supplies/clothes/equipment.

I have never been one to be overly “technical” in my attire.  In fact, I have been known to walk miles in heels and wear rhinestones while putting in wood.  Kilimanjaro lists have called for pants, shorts, boots, socks all to suit the variety of weather conditions we will encounter. Off I go to MEC and a few other stores to get my goods.  What I quickly realized is this stuff is expensive!  Expensive and BORING looking.  I am naturally drawn to bright colors and I am kind of like a crow – I like sparkly things. Well in order to be “Hiker” it seems I need to be a natural woman and wear tan, taupe, and at the wildest maybe plum.  Putting me into these clothes feels as awkward as bringing my Grandma to see Miley Cyrus twerk and stick her long disgusting tongue out.  Oh and let’s talk about the boots.  They are comfortable, absolutely, however I feel like a dog when its owner puts a jacket on it.  It is like my body reacts to them and wants to take them off.  I was able to find a few “not-typical but still do the job of wicking sweat from my body” – snake skin leggings and bright tops.  I needed to get a sun hat, however, everything I found made me feel like a huge dork.  In the end I found a bright blue number that fits my XL noggin.  I always laugh when people comment on things: a few weeks ago I had a ballgame after work.  I rushed home to drop the dog, grab a bite and get changed for the game.  Maurice got home after me and when he saw me he said “oh you are wearing red lipstick to play ball are you?” To which I replied “oh that is right I need to go wipe the lipstick off which I’ve been wearing all day in order to play ball because that will really change the outcome of the game.”  

The next challenge was the immunizations. Lord, I got pumped with so many vaccines – Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid Fever, Yellow Fever, booster shots and pills for Malaria, diarrhea, and altitude sickness.  I am so paranoid that I am afraid to drink, eat, touch, breath or sleep.  Watch out for the water… watch out for the food… watch out for mosquitoes… watch out for wild dogs… watch out for the sun… watch out for locals.

I honestly think the easiest part of the whole trip will be climbing the mountain.  I remember my brother Dave was studying at Queen’s and he didn’t have a lot of extra money.  He liked to bike but his bike hadn’t made its way to Kingston yet so someone gave him a mountain bike. He heard about a bike group that met and biked to various places in the area.  He decided to join them.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have a helmet either so he popped on his hockey helmet and went to meet the group. He said everyone else had road bikes, spandex, water belts – he had his mountain bike, hockey helmet and some kind of random clothing.  He said “I came there to bike.  I did. And I beat them all.”   I wish I could just wear what I had in drawers/closets, however,  I guess I am forced to only see leopard while on safari.

Away I go!



3 Responses to “Leaving the leopard at home…”

  1. Ally MacQueen September 20, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Em, you never cease to amaze me! I know you’re going to have the trip of a life time and I can’t WAIT for the post journey blog…it will be a doozy! Be safe, have fun and at least bring your red lip stick…your pics just wouldn’t be the same without it 🙂 Lots of love! xoxoxox

  2. Andrea September 20, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Good luck on the climb. Love reading your blogs 💜

  3. Sarah Whiting September 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    thinking of you. Good luck and enjoy your big adventure!!!

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