It’s an absolutely freezing clear morning. The sky is full of so many stars that I can barely keep my eyes on the ground. However, looking up isn’t really an option. We move as a unit; a line of lights creeping through the dark the way a snake winds through the desert. It’s 3:30 am and we have just begun our bid for the top of Mt. Kenya.
“Slowly, slowly” (or “Pole, pole” as our guides say in Swahili), we climb higher and higher. One breathless step at a time, we seek to reach the rocky summit by sunrise.
Our fingers are frozen, we can’t see, some members of the team haven’t slept in days and others are suffering from altitude sickness…Yet, we climb on - for the environment, for our families and friends, for each other and for ourselves.
It’s tough going, but spirits rise with the sun. When we are just a few minutes shy of Point Lenana, a glowing red orb inches it’s way above the eastern horizon. We push on - scurrying over the last few bits of trail and helping each other up a short, steep rock wall. Tears, laughter, hoots and hollers abound. In front of my eyes, I see self-doubt and uncertainty transform into confidence and clarity.
I am overwhelmed by the determination, perseverance, heart and support present in each of these women. And this is only our first climb. Two more mountains left and I can’t wait to see what arises in the next couple weeks.