A friend of mine (Claire) admirably completed an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2013. She was very humble about her achievement and described how difficult it was just to breathe, and indeed walk, in getting to the top – even with guides and porters to assist the group. An amazing achievement. She is very fit and active and the idea that she struggled really marks out how hard it must have been.
I have no wish to try to align the following notes with what Claire achieved, but I do want to tell you about the first mountain I have ever climbed. Just north of Lake Taupo, Mount Tauhara stands at a modest 1,088 metres (3,569 feet) above sea level and it was a lovely morning…so why not try to do what the Kiwis do and go walking…?
After the first 20 minutes of walking through steep open farmland, my knees were screaming at me to stop and my wife felt a little faint. It would have been easy to stop and we debated it but decided we should carry on…to be honest, I think I would have been ashamed of myself to turn back.
Once into the trees, my legs loosened up a bit and I was able to manage a fairly challenging track climbing over rocks and tree roots while ascending upwards. After around 2 hours we reached the summit. The views were stunning looking over the enormous Lake Taupo towards Mount Ruapehu (an active volcano and the tallest mountain on the north island) which can be seen smoking as you enter Taupo. Well worth it. And the climb down was thankfully much quicker!
I like to reflect on things and what you learn about yourself in such situations. (Motivational speech alert) It would have been easy to stop but the rewards for pushing on were so much greater…so don’t give up at the first hurdle…give things a chance…and you might just surprise yourself with what you can achieve…even if it is only a small mountain you are climbing.