A Blustery New Year’s Walk and Huge Excitement in the Air…

…or, it Ain’t Over ‘Til the Climbing Lady Sings (from the top of the world)

On Monday, Janaury 3rd, we Kili women walked from High Park’s Grenadier Restaurant (in the west end of Toronto) down to Lake Ontario and the Martin Goodman Trail, and all the way over to Queen’s Quay, stopping at William’s Coffee Pub a the half way point. And then all the way back. Whew! 14 K in all/9 miles. Such a civilized urban hike this day. So civilized, dogs were allowed in. That’s my kind of coffee house! One of our climbing buddies bought along her darling dog-a 4 year old golden retriever; she’s been our mascot on many a hike over the months. Was a long, long walk along the waterfront this day; and cold and windy, too. Tested out my new “kick-ass” summit day gloves…which were waaaay tooo hot for the day., despite the subzero temps with wind chill added in. Guess Toronto on a cold and blustery day just doesn’t compete with the blast at the top of Kili. My hands were sweating inside these mammoth gloves, which needed to be turned inside out and aired once home. But, hey, now I know they’ll be toasty warm when it counts the most-right? My hands ought to be fine on summit day, Jan. 27th and that’s good, because numb fingers hands can be one heck of a nasty distraction from the task at hand (no pun intended!).

I’m now backing-off hike-training, with a stepped-up desire to preserve my physical health, however, I’ll be taking six days of Hypoxic Training with Dr. Greg Gannon (http://www.sportscience.ca/about) January 8th through the 13th. This is a wonderful bit of indoors training to get used to exercising/walking with increasingly less oxygen, ultimately, at training’s end on January 13th, simulating the amount of oxygen I’ll have to work with on Summit Day/at nearly 20,000 feet).

Another type of workout I’ve been getting lately is packing! Man, oh, man…I’ve been packing two hours every night for the past four nights and I’m not finished yet! Impossible sounding, eh? But that’s the case (again, no pun intended-ugh) because there are so many medicines, ointments, pills, clothing, accessories, and incidentals to strategically pack and bring as carry on luggage-for one can’t climb at all if some of these things are lost in checked luggage. So they’ve just got to be carried on. It’s going to be some piece of packing mastery to get it all in a backpack and underweight, too. What I can’t fit in my backpack, I’ll wear on my body. I may be HOT!!! , but, hey, I’ll have all my essential stuff, like my hiking boots, warmest socks, down coat, wind jacket and pants, sunglasses, camera, Blackberry-must carry-on my Blackberry, otherwise there’ll be no blogging to you from the mountain! And another thing, I just bought a portable recharger. So now I can blog on the mountain until my BB runs out, and once it does, with my portable charger (ramped up while still in Toronto), I can juice up my dead BB and blog some more! Technology is amazing, huh?

So that’s what’s keeping me busy now, dear reader. One last Working Wisdom coming down the pike next week, hopefully. I know what I want to write, it’s just a matter of getting to it in between my “one last trips” to Shoppers Drugmart for yet one more “oh yeah!” purchase. Big sigh just here.

And I’ve totally invaded our library, sorting out all my stuff-I just bet my family can’t wait to see me go, so our upstairs can get back to a bit of visual normalcy).

As far as pledges go, I’m somewhat close to my original target of $10,000. Currently at $6600 and, although it is a long shot, it’s still possible that I’ll reach the $10,000 mark because, hey, “It ain’t over ’til the climbing lady sings!”– that’s me, by the way-and I’ll be doing THAT from the top of the world on January 27th.

Did you know the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro is the closest anyone can get to the sun??? Even including Mt. Everest? That’s because Mt Kili is at the equator, while Everest is much further north. So, indeed, I’ll be singing at the top of my lungs, at the top of the world, come January 27th at noon, Tanzanian time (meaning 4 a.m., January 27th, Toronto time–wonder if you’ll hear me?). On that morning, I’ll try to remember to start my blog with a variation of the Irish morning greeting, by writing, “Top ‘o the World to ya”!

So now, back to it…to the “chop wood and carry water” of continuing to prep, pack and last minute shop, with the exception of one last speaking engagement this coming Tuesday evening. After that, I’m on a speaking sabbatical until mid-Feb. So wish me luck, send me energy if you would please (I’m sure to need it!), and if you’re still so inclined and yet to do so, please consider donating to this worthy cause for which I’m climbing Kili. I’d very much appreciate your pledge.

While on the mountain my husband will receive my blog entries and pics and post them to my website, and he’ll also gladly send me notice of new donations, to help continue to inspire me to keep putting one foot in front of the other (which I understand gets harder and a LOT slower with each day-pole, pole/polee, polee, as they say in Swahili). I know that it will be hard, and I’m “doin’ it anyway”!

My great thanks to you for following along and sending your emails and phone calls of cheer and support. It’s been so lovely to hear from you all over the past seven months. As overly familiar as it may be or sound for me to say so-let’s just put it down to my giddy excitement and mushy, mush feelings at this point…maybe I’m already working on reduced oxygen????…hyperventilating??? — I send along to you a BIG farewell hug! I’m waaay excited now and can’t seem to help myself. Take care out there, through this long-haul part of winter.

Until we meet again, Nina

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