Peter and Alexandra Fanizzi Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro

Along with Good Earth Tours & Safaris, Pete & Alex Fanizzi trekked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. "It was incredibly difficult, but we did it!! We made it to the top!"

Achieving the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is something anyone can aspire to.
Good Earth Tours took great care to provide us with a safe, challenging, exciting and memorable adventure.

With assistance from our lead guide Ernest (a.k.a." Hemmingway"), we walked on a continuous incline following the code "walk high and sleep low". This meant we would be hiking anywhere from 3 - 4000 meters in height over our daily trek of five to seven hours which would help us acclimate to the altitude.

With the support of Mike Lanza of Legends Sporting Goods of Staten Island, Alexandra my daughter and I were able to visit a local community center and bring gifts including soccer balls and jerseys. The kids couldn't wait to put them on! They were very appreciative and humble giving us a beautiful first day in Arusha, Tanzania.
We are confident that we will be supporting this group throughout the years to come.

Our first day of the trek included 10 hours of travel. Five were on a long and dusty road on our Good Earth vehicle filled with supplies, guides and porters. Upon arrival at the start at Rongai route gateway we proceeded to hike 5 hours through cornfields and rainforest spotting an occasional bamboo looking for something to eat.

This first day proved to be long and more intense than any step master machine in terms of workout.
Our guide, Ernest, had some concerns on this first day. My only concern was when would I stop sweating…..
Sleep was easy this night.

The second day proved to be 7 hours of a steady climb, walking high and then low, continuously. Our team was proficient in serving us delicious meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner set in some of the most obscure locations you would ever think.

Third day brought us straight up to Malwenzi, which is the second highest peak with a much more dramatic presence. Camping in the shadow of Malwenzi Hut was an awesome experience.
Who would have thought hiking for 4 hours uphill would seem acceptable and well within my physical limits!

Day 4 we departed early morning to Kibo Hut at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. A gradual incline on a well used trail brought us closer to our goal. At 1pm we had lunch, rested, 5pm ate dinner and rested some more in preparation of our midnight attempt to reach Mt. Kilimanjaro, both peaks. When you are there you realize just how many people are looking for the same experience. But thanks to our Good Earth Tour operator we camped around a bend away from the hustle and bustle of much larger groups.
We were fortunate to be with our own private group of 2, just family. To be honest I was on a mission. I only needed to speak to my daughter and our guides and I was happy.

Now for more rest before this climb.

"Baba, are you up?" is all I remember at 11pm July 20, 2008. Headlamp on, layered clothing in place, we began our ascent which took approximately 6 hours to Gilman's Point where we witnessed the sunrise. Quickly, which amounted to a snails pace, we continued to Uhuru Point, our ultimate goal of 5895 meters. The air was thin, the hiking slow, focused on 1 step in front of the other with great support from our guides, Ernest and David who encouraged us to 'achieve the goal' we made it!

Thank you Good Earth Tours, Ernest and David, for your great support. Without it I am certain stopping to rest could have meant turning around and going down.

For me, stepping off Gillman's Point unto the next portion of trail and looking over my right shoulder was a dream coming true. The enormous volcano crater filled with glistening snow from the sunrise was in full view and very impressive. Trying hard not to look forward but only at my feet was not easy since we still had over 800 meters in height as well as many more in distance to go all up hill!
Alex was experiencing headaches, not uncommon at this altitude. I was concerned but was glad to have our guides to bolster her confidence. Never doubting Alex's physical ability but concerned about any altitiude issues which of course we could not control was always in the back of my mind. How could it not. I am her father. Alexandra proved to be up to the test and passed with flying colors!
Having Alex with me on this trip of a lifetime was a fathers dream. To say I was proud would be an understatement.
Having a family member reach for the top and grab hold has been something my own father has instilled in me. My own father lived life to its fullest and of course was one of the first calls I made when we returned. One of the simple sayings he lives by is "because its there" which Mt. Kilimanjaro was!.
It is always amazing to me how we can easily be diverted from some things that give us great pleasure.
Celebrating a birthday on top of Africa seemed big enough for me .
Having Alexandra with me on this adventure was like the icing on the cake!
Physically there was no question that Alex was able to make this and I was glad the experienced guides kept her going.
I was dealing with shear exhaustion. Not having the headaches but simply pushed to limits I had never been before.
Reaching the summit, Uhuru, is a reality described only by those that have felt the physical demands that come from these experiences.
I can only say that Ernest kept pointing out "look at the crater, look at the size of this crater!" And as I gazed over where we were it gave a confidence and feeling of life experienced to its fullest!
I have to say I enjoyed this 50th birthday present. These words are the closest that I can come to sharing the feelings and emotions felt over the 12 days.

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