Countdown to Kilimanjaro: Wendy Griffith’s epic climb to the top of Africa’s highest Mountain set for early September
I’ve loved to climb mountains as long as I can remember. My first “epic” climb was Mount Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee; one of the highest peaks in the Appalachian Mountains rising to 6,593 ft. I was 10 years old. The thrill of hiking on narrow ledges -- ascending literally into the clouds and seeing black bears in the wild for the first time was unforgettable. My Mother, Georgia Griffith, was 6 months pregnant with my brother Pete during that hike. Not an easy climb under ordinary circumstances. I guess she taught me at an early age not to let “circumstances” or what others might say hold you back from doing what you really want to do. “All things are possible with God!” – (Matt 19:26).
As I got older my love for hiking only increased. My home state of West Virginia certainly provided plenty of great trails – as have some of the other states I’ve lived in as a Television news anchor/reporter including Arizona and now Virginia. But one of my all-time favorite hikes is one I did just a few years ago in Hawaii. It’s called the Kalalau Trail along Na Pali Coast in Kauai. ( I write about that adventure in my new book, “You are a Prize to be Won! Don’t settle for less than God’s best.”)
Everyone who knows me knows that Old Rag Mountain is my favorite climb here in Virginia. It’s a 4 hour drive from the flat-lands of Virginia Beach to Old Rag nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains. It’s also one of the most challenging hikes I’ve ever done. But after conquering Old Rag nearly 50 times over the last 15 years – I began to think – I need a bigger mountain to climb.
COUNTDOWN TO KILIMANJARO
I began to seriously think about hiking Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, about a year ago – but the timing wasn’t right. A year later, things have lined up beautifully and in just over 2 weeks I will embark on what will certainly be the adventure of a lifetime. Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world - rising to a breath-taking 19,336 feet! I will be going with a group of fellow thrill-seekers whom I have not yet met – but after spending 7 days and nights ascending together as we climb/camp/eat/sleep and hopefully celebrate this ultimate climb, I’m sure we will get to know each other quite well.
*Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting blogs and videos to show you how I’m preparing including my work-out routines – which I am stepping up big time!
Although there is no way to adequately prepare your body for 19,000 feet! Increasing your cardio and being in the best possible shape will enhance anyone’s chances, including mine of making it to the top.
THE FEAR FACTOR
After I made the final decision to climb Kilimanjaro and paid for the trip I sat in my car thinking – what did I just do ?! Fear gripped me. Was I up to this challenge? Did I have what it takes to make it to the top? I prayed – God, help me! I turned on the radio – The first thing I heard was a K-LOVE female host asking this question to her listeners: “If you could do anything and fear was not a factor, what would you do? I had my answer. I would climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Thank you God for such a quick answer and squashing my fears.
You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[a] lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” -- Isaiah 40:9 (NIV)
Climb a high mountain, Zion. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid! Tell the cities of Judah, “Look! Your God!” Look at him! GOD, the Master, comes in power, ready to go into action. He is going to pay back his enemies and reward those who have loved him. -- Isaiah 40:9 (MSG)