FREDERICTON, NB –
A father and daughter duo have just returned home to Fredericton after having the adventure of a lifetime.
Last year, Brian and Forest Jones decided to climb Africa’s highest mountain together, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The plan came true for the two last December.
“It was incredibly nerve-wracking,” says Forest Jones.
“All the way to the bottom of the mountain, I was constantly thinking, ‘What if I don’t catch up? What happens if you get sick halfway through? So all you have to do is do your best and walk as many hours a day.
It wasn’t just the physical ascent they had to contend with, the changes in altitude, nutrition and climatic zone posed a challenge as they climbed the mountain.
“Your extremes range from plus 30 in the rainforest to minus 20, minus 25 at the top,” says Brian Jones.
“Which makes it a logistical nightmare from a clothing standpoint, because you have to get all these clothes – one minute you’re wearing a t-shirt and the next minute you’re wearing three layers and two coats.”
After five and a half days of climbing over 19,000 feet, the pair reached the summit, just in time for sunrise.
“It was absolutely amazing, it was very painful for the first six hours of climbing in the middle of the night,” says Forest.
“But once you get to a certain point, about forty minutes from the top, the hike is just adrenaline.”
Much of the determination to reach the top came from the desire to raise money for Leo Hayes High School’s Feed the Lions program in Fredericton, which helps students with food insecurity.
The goal is $10,000 and so far approximately $7,000 has been raised. Donations continue to come in and are welcome.
“While it may go unnoticed, many students don’t have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food, and food stability is a major issue, especially during the winter months,” says Forest.