Monday, December 30, 2013

Hooked on Climbing

Kilimanjaro has 2.2 square kilometers of glacial ice but it is losing it quickly due to global warming. The glaciers have shrunk 82% since 1912 and 33% since 1989. The mountain may be ice-free within 20 years, which will dramatically affect local drinking water, crop irrigation, and hydroelectric power.

Having climbed many mountains in her lifetime, Martha McCallum, one of the two trip leaders has seen changes in the ice atop many mountains.  Read more about Martha and her experiences below.

“My Outward Bound connections started back in 1979 when I worked as an instructor at the BC mountain school in Keremeos - and I was hooked! In 1983 I climbed to my highest elevation on Pik Lenin in the Soviet Pamirs (23,406'). Since then I've worked mostly as a wildlife biologist and as an ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides)-certified hiking guide. Both have kept me busy exploring the Canadian Rockies, which continue to inspire me for work and play year-round.

For the past five years I have instructed the Outward Bound Mindfulness in the Mountains adult backpacking program based in the Rockies.  I also instruct on the OB Veterans program and had the wonderful pleasure of helping Sarah Wiley (OBC’s Executive Director) guide Kili in 2013. What I enjoy about OB programs is the great combination of spectacular natural landscapes, exhilaration and physical challenge, and also a chance to slow down and enjoy some really thoughtful campfire discussions. I am constantly honoured to spend this kind of time with participants and hear their stories, and I look forward to sharing this great African adventure once again with some amazing people.”

Please help Martha and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Friday, December 27, 2013

From the Tropics to the Arctic

In addition to an incredible climb to the summit, there is much more to Kili. Ascending the slopes offers a climber a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic.  Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, as well as other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.  It is a truly an amazing place.

And Meghan Kirwin is going to be one of the eleven 2014 Kili climbers who will be able to enjoy this extraordinary environment.  Read more about Meghan and her journey below.

“I have a beautiful and full life as an entrepreneur, mom, wife, daughter, friend, community member.  So much to be grateful for!

I started my own HR consulting practice in 2004 through the MBA program at Laurier. My business is focused on providing HR support to fast growth companies. This keeps me busy and I love my work! I have two boys, 10 and 12 and they fill my life with joy and happiness. I am also blessed to be married to Robin, my best friend and lifelong partner, who will be doing the climb with me.

In my teens and early twenties I participated in and led a number of paddling and hiking expeditions in the US and Canada.  I saw the impact this type of experience has on developing self-reliance, leadership skills and connection to self. I am so excited that the funds we are raising will go toward Outward Bound programs that will allow a person who needs this experience to reconnect in nature. This is something that makes a positive difference. 

This trip is also to give back to me. Robin and I are taking this time together to share in an experience of a lifetime.  My goal is not to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro (although that would be great!): my goal is to experience every moment of this trip with deep gratitude and joy.”

Please help Meghan and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to her personal fundraising page here or make a general donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb by clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kilimanjaro, A Mystery Wreathed in Clouds

Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don't even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa.

But, by any name, this mountain holds the possibility of an incredible adventure.  Elizabeth Gal, one of our 2014 Kili climbers, is certainly excited by that promise.  Read more about Elizabeth and her quest below. 

“Hello all!

My name is Liz and this exciting adventure is part of me taking a year away off to spend time on me, to support my partner, to be with my family and to grow as a person. I have taught for the past five years, both in the public and private boards, students ranging in age from 5 to 17 and in three different subject areas. Come to think about it, I have been teaching most of my life, whether it be in the classroom setting, coaching sports, at the gym or at community centres. I am really looking forward to me being a "student" and learning.

 I have learned that my passion to explore nature and to be outside is indescribable. My desire to share that with "little people" is even more satisfying. I believe that through discovery, you can learn so much about who you are as a person and what makes you "tick".  This experience with Outward Bound, will allow me to discover, challenge myself both mentally and physically by setting goals, as well as to listen to other peoples journeys. I am really looking forward to being part of a team.

Outward Bound's Canada’s Core Funded Programs have really intrigued me as they touch on all of the above things mentioned: guided discovery which becomes self -discovery and eventually an understanding of the "self". Every teacher wishes that they can teach people who they are but in reality, I have learned that individuals have to find their own path(s). I look forward to learning more about me, about others, about the beautiful region of Tanzania and my first Outward Bound experience!”

Please help Elizabeth and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Raising the Bar for Women of Courage

2014 marks the third year that Outward Bound Canada has sent a fundraising expedition up Kilimanjaro. The last expedition started at the Machame Gate - 6000ft, on January 9th, 2013 and returned home with about $53,000 raised for Outward Bound Canada’s charitable programs for youth and adults in need.

This year, climber Bob Faulkes will be hiking Kilimanjaro to help his team-mates who fundraise their way past last year’s impressive total.  Read more about Bob below.

“In 1994, I encouraged my son, then 15 years old, to embark on a 17 day Outward Bound program in the coastal mountains of BC. He went off a boy and came back a young man, more confident, more capable, more assured. I wanted some of what he had gained and a year later, I convinced two friends to join me on an eight-day Outward Bound program.

At the age of 46, without a taut bone in my body and weighing in at over 230 pounds, I bumbled and stumbled into this first grand adventure. Little did I know that it would change the course of my life.
Over the past twenty years, I have run, cycled, swum, hiked and paddled through adventure after adventure; I trace all this insanity back to the first Outward Bound experience.

Almost twenty years later, I am delighted to join the 2014 Outward Bound Mount Kilimanjaro Fundraising Expedition, a fitting way to celebrate my 65th year.”

Please help Bob and his fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Friday, December 13, 2013

March of Dimes at Outward Bound Canada's Urban Base Camp Week 10

We're an energetic group of lovely people who are currently in the March of Dimes L.I.F.E. Program at Outward Bound, sponsored by United Way. We're learning how to improve our independence. 

This is our last week together as a group - can you believe it? We've been together since day one and now we're coming to a close. It was fun and interesting from ice-breakers to initiatives and games... we've seen it all.

Yesterday morning it was -14 degrees outside so we warmed up inside playing fruit tai-chi and a few rounds of ''The liars Club''. That was tons of fun.  We had to guess what certain objects were plus, who was lying or who was telling the truth.

Then we started our scavenger hunt. We each had certain clues to find in the quarry. One of our clues was on the bridge and it read, "I'm surrounded by water but I'm never soaking. What am I?"  (see below for answers)

Here's some funny jokes that you can share with your friends and family:  

After you go through a fall I will take over. All life will stall or at least grow slower. What am I? 

I have lakes with no fish. I have roads with no cars. What am I? 

I drape the hills in white, I do not swallow, but I do bite. What am I? 

We had personal group questions. After the hunt we were a little chilly so we decided to head inside for lunch. After eating cookies with green icing we reviewed our riddles and clues. 

In order to learn from experiences during the program we all had a turn to do interviews about our session at Outward Bound. "I learned that I can feel one with mother nature and enjoy my time outside. It's important to do exit interviews so we can learn more about the program so we can make changes for the better." (Princess)

On Thursday we started with a couple games before playing T-ball outside. 

This time Jess wasn't the only one who got out of her chair to run the bases. Jess inspired Usman to run the bases too. "It feels good for my legs and it's good to be free!"  (Jess) Running the bases warmed Jess up - good thing too as it was pretty cold outside.

After lunch we went out in the quarry and Jess and Suhail took turns in the trail rider. Everyone made a card for Charlotte to thank her for all the great work she has done with us. 

We had a good time here at Outward Bound going on adventures. It was a blast! It was great to be here but we are also looking forward to staying warm over the holidays. Keep in touch.

Answers for riddles/jokes (bridge), (winter), (a map), (frost)

Top of the World

Did you know, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level? And of it’s three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira – Kibo is the tallest of the three.

One of our amazing climbers who will be scaling these incredible heights is Brenda Daniels. Not only is Brenda an Outward Bound Canada – Women of Courage alumna herself, but she is a busy working mother of two who works for the Toronto District School Board as a Business Process Analyst.  Read more about Brenda below.

 “I attended an Outward Bound–Women of Courage program in July of 2012. This program brought together nine women who had a common history as survivors of violence. We canoed on the French River and challenged ourselves both physically and emotionally.  This was a life-changing experience for all.  I began that journey with fear and anxiety and returned feeling more like my old self; I reconnected with myself. The “solo” experience, spending 24 hours alone in the wilderness, was profound. I highly recommend this program to other women who are in the process of healing. I now feel very fortunate to have two new challenges, to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro and to raise funds for others to attend the Women of Courage program.

I enjoy hiking, yoga and cross-country skiing.  My interests in the outdoors led me to study Environmental Sciences. I have also studied Quality Assurance and currently work in the sustainability field for the Toronto District School Board. 

I have two daughters: Samantha is 21 years old and studying journalism and Cassandra is 19 years old and studying nursing.” 

Please help Brenda and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to her personal fundraising page here or make a general donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb by clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo

Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano (a conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash). Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct but Kibo is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago, but we’re not expecting to see another one any time soon.

Robin isn’t intimidated by Kibo.  Robin has made a commitment to give back more than his money to charities that benefit people in need, and this climb is an incredible way to give back.  Read more about Robin below.

“Through hard work and a lot of luck I am proud to say I am a loving husband to my wife Meghan and father of two special boys, Rhys, 12, and Zachary, 10, not to mention a beautiful little Golden Doodle...Marley. 

I have spent my working career in the healthcare field, first as a physiotherapist and more recently working for a consumer and pharmaceutical products company.  I enjoy knowing that the work I do every day may lead to a person doing more and feeling better while they do it. 

Recently, I have made a commitment to give back more than my money to charities that benefit people in need within our communities.  I am excited to work hard to fundraise for the great programs that Outward Bound Canada delivers to children and adults in need.  Lastly, I have always enjoyed learning and experiencing new challenges in life.  Kilimanjaro will deliver big time on all those factors....and more!  I can’t wait for what truly will be the experience of a lifetime.”

Please help Robin and his fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to his personal fundraising page here or make a general donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, by clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

March of Dimes at Outward Bound Canada's Urban Base Camp Week 9

We're an energetic group of lovely people who are currently in the March of Dimes L.I.F.E. Program at Outward Bound, sponsored by United Way. We're learning how to improve our independence. 

Its our second last week! We started off by warming up with "move your butt" and in the process discovered so many more things we have in common! 

Lead by Allen and Usman with the help of two therapy dogs (one was a chocolate lab called Coby and a blonde lab called Peplow) we returned to our geocache area. It was fun to see our geocache in action. 

After lunch we played a quick game of "blind-search" along the brickroad, then we set up a blind obstacle course in the welcome centre, so we could be warm. It was challenging to be without sight. We had to listen and pay close attention to the people guiding us through. 

Today we played a quick game of "007" and "the cage is open" before moving onto volleyball. We modified the game by adding interesting words every time someone had to throw the ball. At the same time a group was working on our song while others were preparing a delicious meal: Usman grated a mountain of cheese and many others helped prepare the b├ęchamel sauce for the "mac n' cheese." It even had breadcrumbs! Mouth watering just thinking about it, yum, yum, yum! 

We're looking forward to next week, it will be our last week... stay tuned to find out what awesome fun we had.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Speedy Gonzales

The fastest verified ascent time up Mount Kilimanjaro was by Italian Bruno Brunod in 2001. He climbed Uhuru Peak from Marangu Gate in 5 hours, 38 minutes, and 40 seconds. The fastest round-trip time was by local guide Simon Mtuy who ran up and down on December 26, 2004 in 8 hours and 27 minutes.

She may have difficulty matching times like that, but Outward Bound Canada alumna Susanne Clark. Susanne, with a deep love of the outdoors and a keen sense of adventure, will be a great asset to the team.  Read more about Susanne below.

“I have been married to Richard, the love of my life for almost 30 years. I am the mother of four beautiful adult daughters, and I'm a professional chef, with my own successful catering company.
In September 2012, I participated in a five-day, 40km Guest Expedition over Northover Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. Our group was led by Julian Norris, Laurie Skreslet, Outward Bound Director John Gulak, and three others. I had a powerful transformational experience which reminded me of the infinite healing power of our mountains. As a result of those five days in the wilderness, I knew that hiking and Outward Bound would be a part of my life for a long time.

My connection to Outward Bound began almost four years ago, when I started working as the corporate chef for Brett Wilson. His passion and support for Outward Bound go back many years and peaked my curiosity. Watching his commitment and later participating in the expedition fostered my love for OB. 

Reciprocity is very abundant in my life... I spend my days physically nourishing the Prairie Merchant team and their guests who come into my kitchen. I'm nourished in return by their love and gratitude for the delicious meals I've prepared.

When I'm outside, rain or shine, breathing fresh air, in Fish Creek Park, at my parent's cabin in the foothills, or hiking in the Rockies, being outdoors is like soothing balm for my soul, and I am nourished! The gift of nature to nurture, connect, grow, release, and, ultimately heal, deeply resonates with me. 

Participating in this upcoming fundraising expedition to Kilimanjaro is an opportunity and a challenge I cannot pass up, despite moments of crazy anxiousness and self-doubt! Giving back to Outward Bound is an honour and a privilege. It is my way of nourishing myself and the future participants in Outward Bound programs.”

Please help Susanne and her fellow climbers reach their goal by making a donation to the 2013 Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, clicking on the "Canada Helps" icon below: