Eleanor Moore: You realize how strong you are and just what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it
At 8:30 the next morning, with tearful eyes, Moore touched the sign that marked her achievement.
Moore traveled to Africa with an Overland program and spent a total of five days ascending the famous mountain and two days descending from it.
The trip took its members on the Rongai route up the mountain, one of the more challenging of the eight routes. By the time they had reached the summit and hiked back to their base, Moore and her friends had been awake for over 24 hours and had hiked 15 miles on that day alone.
“There are struggles and points when you feel like crawling into a ball and just giving up, but the moments when you have to push yourself to keep going really make it worthwhile,” Moore said.
During their journey, the constant fear of altitude sickness kept the hikers on their toes. At such soaring heights, a slight cough can be the only indication that a seemingly healthy hiker will fall ill in a matter of minutes.
But perhaps more frightening than the notion of contracting altitude sickness was the idea of turning back after days of uphill progress.
Although Moore recalled pools of sunlight that colored the snowy mountaintop craters with streaks of orange and yellow, the sense of accomplishment that accompanied her hike was just as satisfying as the scenery.
“You realize how strong you are and just what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it,” Moore said.
Now back in Wayland, Moore has decided to spread her passion of hiking to Wayland High School by creating the first Hiking Club at the school. Her new club will meet on various weekends and holidays to hike nearby mountains or trails.
“I just want everyone else to have a shot at loving hiking too. It’s such a group bonding activity because everyone goes through the same pain,” Moore said. “It brings people closer together, and it’s just a lot of fun.”
Moore expects that hiking will play into her everyday life in the future. In addition to tackling nearby trails with the hiking club, she someday hopes to take her passion to South America to hike the dramatic landscapes of Patagonia.