And so the journey begins…Kilimanjaro or BUST.
It had been about 14 months since that fateful evening in the pub, when too many glasses of wine had lead to the ridiculous idea that 4 forty something ladies-wot-lunch could possibly somehow exchange their high heels and lip gloss for walking boots, tents and shit buckets and drag their sorry arses up a 19,340ft mountain.
What the hell were we thinking? This was the only thought going through my head as we arrived at Heathrow airport at the beginning of our African adventure. Walking into the departures area it didn’t take long to spot a few familiar faces and I really appreciated the facebook group that had been set up enabling us all to ‘talk’ to each other over the previous months. Paula, Gemma, Scotty, Ronnie and Paul L (my boss!) were all there, looking equally worried, nervous grins on their faces. Annemarie and I said goodbye to our husbands, both looking a little awkward because they didn’t know any of the people they were leaving us with and probably feeling a bit left out as we were about to head off on our big adventure. It was soon decided that we would find somewhere to get a drink and some food and having met with the rest of the group we all trouped off to find somewhere to park ourselves. Donna and Karen headed straight for the champagne bar, a fact that really impressed me as I had been trying my hardest to be tee-total for the last month and here they were on the very eve of the trek putting it away without a care in the world…may be they were the sensible ones!
The rest of the group started chatting and getting to know each other and it was quickly apparent that it was a really great bunch of people and that there were going to be a few laughs along the way…we even got introduced to Scotty’s page 3 girlfriend courtesy of an appearance in the Daily Star that very day! I remember thinking how sweet it was that he was worried that a bunch of near strangers would be making judgements about him because of this when in fact I think most of us were actually very impressed! I had already adopted Scotty as my Kili son and soon realised that all these people would be part of a Kili family for the next 11 days. A bond was already forming.
Once we had boarded the plane the reality of what we were doing began to sink in. It was an eight hour night flight and we knew that we needed to sleep so as not to start the trek on a bad footing. The Kenyan Airways cabin witches didn’t exactly make it a welcoming flight and sleep didn’t come easily sat in the middle seat with nowhere to rest my head but it went surprisingly quickly considering and as dawn broke we found ourselves in Keyna.