More than a year after I acknowledged my trekking impulses by buying a ton of trekking equipment (ruck sack, climbing shoes, sleeping bag n the works) I finally was all set to set out on a “all out” trek..and how!
It took a bit of fortuitous misfortune to finally set myself on the path to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro..all of 5895 metres above sea level to Uhuru Peak.
For that momentous December of 2012 I had planned to head out to the old lady’s country to catch up with some good friends and join a couple of buddies in a “footie theerthadanam“, as one of them put it, to catch the EPL football matches that come by thick and fast during XMas and New Year holiday season. As luck would have it, my perfectly reasonable visa application was rejected by the stuck up d******d at the UK High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria. And thus there I was with barely 1 month to go for my holiday with painstakingly approved leave and no plans at all!
So I went back to my planning board and took a look at all the “push-button” ready travel plans that were made during various spells of boredom and despair and dug up the Kilimanjaro trek plans that were originally conceived for December last year and did not quite work out. Having done a fair bit of research for the trip a year ago, I quickly took to Lonely Planet forums to find some travel companions as I didnt have any. I had a marginal hope of success and was quite prepared to take up the trek on my own. But au contraire, no sooner had i sent out a few messages I got a prompt response from Jussi who was happy to have me join their group and who along with his partner Helena formed my three party hiking expedition! Thanks Lonely Planet for helping me find wonderful companions for the trek and NO THANKS for shutting down the private messaging while during our trek resulting in me losing contact with them afterwards.
My new-found travel companions were experienced and as I learned on my way up more or less professional trekkers who had trekked all over the world including my own homeland. Jussi was a meticulous in preparation and found what seemed to be a trekking tour company and had even negotiated reasonable rates for the trek. Now Mt. Kilimanjaro tour operators are dime a dozen with everyone claiming to be top notch and showcasing the ultimate “customer reviews”. But we had a good feel about Tro-Peak Adventures and Daniel and his team did not disappoint at all but thats part of another post.
So there I was from being from being thrown off-course by the rejection stamp of a stuck up Britisher into the most amazing experience of my life!