Coppell Trainer and Get You In Shape Coach / Trainer Meg Hinkley shares her trip of a lifetime taking on Mt. Kilimanjaro with her husband Paul (also a GYIS loyal client ) and son Michael.
Below is a her story that she share with the Get You In Shape community about the journey.
I was hoping to post something earlier but it’s the first chance we have had for WiFi; in Dubai now on our way home tomorrow. This has been such a special time as a family before Michael starts work in Colorado. We LOVED Tanzania and its’ people, beautiful and special beyond words. We came to climb but left with our hearts touched by so many new friends and a deep appreciation for this part of Africa.
Well, we made it to the top of Kilimanjaro! Too much to post but Paul and I will share as we see you at GYIS if you are interested. It is the hardest physical challenge we have ever done and it is true that making it to the top is as much mental as physical conditioning, if not more.
We expected it to be challenging. We prepared through our GYIS fitness training, extra leg work, and utilized our experiences as backpackers and hikers. But, as often happens, the challenges are unanticipated. High altitude is no joke and can take anyone out. I thought being sufficiently acclimatized by careful assenting and following a climb high/sleep low strategy, (along with some pharmaceutical help in the form of Diamox, an altitude sickness med), would help us overcome most of the high altitude impact. We carefully chose our guides based upon their attention to their climbers health and not letting someone continue beyond their limits putting them in danger.
Our entire group lost their appetite and wove in an out of nausea after 16,000 feet. I now know this is “normal” for high altitude climbing and just part of the challenge. Even one of our guides suffered so badly he had to bow out of the summit because he became so ill. It was his first time up this season and though he has gone to the summit over 100 times, it’s the first time in his life that he became too ill to continue. He says he was given the gift of empathy for his clients who suffer 🙂.
The weather also threw us several curve balls in the form of continual rain and cold the first two days that eventually overcame our “waterproof” outerwear and soaked many of our clothes and sleeping bags. Cold and wet sucks and at its worst can end a climb, at the least it’s a moral killer.
However, we were given some gifts we didn’t anticipate either in the form of two solo hikers who joined our family. Lu is a prison guard in a maximum security men’s prison in. Sydney, Australia, and Allison is a marketing consultant from San Francisco. I love that both these women were traveling independently. We became the perfect team and we each brought a special gift to the group. Lu was high intensity and attitude (no surprise!), and she was always the first one awake in the morning telling us to get up because we were missing sunrise. Allison was calm and patient and her hiking experience and “can do anything attitude” was so encouraging. Michael, as always, had us all laughing at his observations and thoughts on life. Paul was calm and steady and kept me from having a melt down when I was very cold and realized my sleeping bag was wet the second night.
There are no words for the 3 guides and legion of porters who supported our climb. The porters carry their own equipment on their backs and much of ours on their head (Going to share a post about them next week). A weeks worth of food, water, tents, stoves, etc… doesn’t walk itself up the mountain! We only had to carry our own clothes, the days water, and snacks and personal items. You are not allowed to climb without a licensed company and it would be difficult to make it to the summit with all your own gear plus the effects of altitude.
The guides were part mountaineer, part coach, part psychiatrist. We felt we were being led well and respect all the experience they bring.
The summit Day pushed Paul and I beyond what we thought we could do. We started at 7am , breaking camp and hiking to the summit base camp, reaching it at 3pm. We were offered meals but Paul and I were too queasy to eat since the day before, the others only picked. We tried to sleep from 6pm to 11pm and then prepared to start for the summit at midnight. It was in the teens and going down, it was a mental fight to leave the sleeping bags and start!
However, moving gets the blood flowing and we had on lots of layers and snow clothes so only my fingers got cold. Climbing up was so exhausting, it made our lungs and muscles burn in a way I’ve never experienced, there just wasn’t enough air. The guides constantly said “Pole, pole”, Swahili for slowly, slowly.
Making it to the summit was so exhilarating and a dream come true for me, especially to do it with Paul and Michael. It was so much more then the climb.
Thank you GYIS for keeping us strong, healthy, and feeling well enough to go after this. I give God gratitude for our health, knowing it is not a promise but a gift.
Thank you Breanna Webb, Brad Linder for taking on so many classes as well as Chaney Pate Respondek Billy Faught and Lise-Lott Meyer for their usual above and beyond support. Thank you GYIS family for your moral support and encouragement! My only request is to not ask me to demonstrate exercises for awhile, I’ll talk you through them! Time for a new “So That….”😊