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Conquering Kilimanjaro

Like Olympus - Above the Serengeti

Standing at 19,340 ft. above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the highest point on the African continent and is known as the largest free-standing mountain on earth.

This trek starts at an elevation of approximately 7,000 ft. and amounts to a round trip foot journey of roughly 50 miles.

Some of our Grand Junction neighbors experienced the breathtaking views of more than 1,000 square miles that can be seen from any direction at the summit of this highest point in Africa. 

Following the Kenya trip shown earlier in this issue, several students with an accompanying parent remained in Africa and after much preparation, took on the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. For most who make this climb, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Included in the trip, one of our community's strongest advocates for education, Sarah Shrader, (founder and owner of Bonsai Design) and her son Luke. Sarah teamed up with Tim Foster (recent past president of CMU) to spearhead the campaign to get an approving vote from our community, to rebuild Grand Junction High School. 

In her own adventures, Sarah has climbed 40 of Colorado's 58 peaks surpassing 14,000 feet in elevation. When invited to be part of this trip by Justin Whiteford she told him without hesitation, "I'm all in". Her Son Luke also made the trip and had to get some special arrangements to finish his year-end college finals remotely or take the exams early in order to go in June.

To promote team spirit and bonding Mr. Whiteford assigned the following duties to the other adults:

Group devotional coordinator (ministering), medical support, music and camp entertainment, overall morale.

This group met over 20 times to prepare equipment, for travel planning and conditioning hikes to get ready for this excursion.

At the summit of Kilimanjaro, the entire group was in tears. Mr. Whiteford said this: "The lesson we taught our children was that the best things in life come through hard work and sacrifice, and pulling together for common goals. By working together, the entire party made the summit. What was a lofty vision 18 months before, taught our children that they can not only envision and achieve great things, but that with commitment and dedication, anything can be achieved!”