PAIGE HUDSON, FORMER TEACHER AT SHALIMAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, RECENTLY SUMMITED AFRICA'S HIGHEST PEAK, MT. KILIMANJARO IN TANZANIA.
Guides, porters, other hikers all wanted to know if the 52-year-old former elementary school teacher had finally made it to the top on her third try.
“It was so funny,” Hudson said Monday afternoon, only days after returning from Tanzania. “I know I was there three times, but I don’t like to count the second because I was sick when I got there.”
Hudson first tackled the mountain last December, but stopped just shy of the top. In June, she flew overseas again with the intent to reach the highest peak, but three days in, strep throat and a sinus infection forced her to turn back.
On Oct. 3, she started again and told her guide, Simon, only one of two outcomes could play out this time: death or success.
During the eight-day adventure, Hudson thought about turning about back – even asked about it – but Simon made good on his promise.
They’d stop for one-minute standing breaks or three-minute sitting ones and then continue. On average they walked five hours a day.
The day they reached Stella Point, the place she’d stopped on her first trip, her legs ached, the wind was freezing cold and she was gasping with each breath.
“This is the first time I really said, ‘I’m not quitting,’ ” she said.
With Simon, and a porter named Amiry who been a witness to all her adventures, at her side, she reached the top.
“I did cry, just a little bit,” Hudson said. “Cause you think about it, and you go, ‘I just really can’t believe I actually did it.’ ”
They stayed for about 10 minutes and then started on the trip down.
“It was grueling,” Hudson said. “The summit night was just a suffer night of epic proportions.”
At the time, she swore it was her last trip up the summit.Three days after returning the States, Hudson said she doesn't have a concrete plan for her next adventure, but it’s clearly coming.
Maybe even another peak in the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park.
“Next time,” Hudson said. “I’ll wear mittens.”
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News Read More
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