As Colin Thubron explains, the reasons for the traveler to get on the road are many, and often mysterious, including to the traveler himself. So it is with me: without understanding why, I’ve decided to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
One reason might be that I enjoy traveling for the adventure of it, the joy of discovering new things and new people, the excitement of getting from one place to another, the opportunity to challenge myself and to get out of my comfort zone. I haven’t done any serious traveling in a while. A few trips here and there to Europe and South-America, but nothing too challenging. So, maybe it’s time to go on the road again. Aside from Egypt, I haven’t travelled to Africa before, so that’s a reason of sort to explore that corner of the world.
Another reason might be Kenny, a friend who traveled to Africa and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a few years ago. Kenny came back with pictures and stories that have made me dream of faraway places since. So, yeah, I think I’ll blame Kenny on this one.
For me one the pleasures of traveling is the gear hunting. I am, it is true, a bit gear obsessed. Now, don’t get me wrong: I am a minimalist, I like to travel light. But that doesn’t mean that finding the smallest set of the best equipment doesn’t take a long time. And that hunt of the gear is part of the fun.
I have to start this adventure on the right foot. So my first step (ar ar) is to buy the right pair of boots, my previous Salomon hiking boots having been pretty much destroyed by the alkali salts of Burning Man. After much research online I think that a mid hiking boots is what I’m looking for. I’ve tried all the models I could find in the area sports equipment stores, but finally selected the Merrell Radius Mid, which turned out to have the most comfortable fit.
I also own a pair of Merrell Chameleon, which are very comfortable lightweight hiking shoes. Apparently, Merrell’s shoes are a bit wider than other brands, which fits my feet better. Make sure you try the boots before buying them, as comfort is key. Pick the right size so that the boots are comfortable with the socks you will wear while hiking, such as a thin pair of liner socks and another pair of heavy wool socks.
New boots have to be broken in gradually. I went to hike Mount Tamalpais this weekend with my new acquisition, but I may have pushed a bit too much as I ended up with a small blister. However, that was an opportunity to test blister bandages. See, what did I tell you about being gear obsessed. This is going to be fun.