Why Climb Kilimanjaro?

On Sueyoung's first birthday after her passing, I took the day off work and hiked up Manitou Mountain, a modest peak with beautiful views located on the banks of the Hudson River just south of Bear Mountain Bridge.

I had sought a quiet place to reflect , pray and say some words to Sueyoung. As I reached the summit, I saw a plane rocketing towards the sky, leaving contrails in its wake as it disappeared into the Heavens. It reminded me of a miniature version of the space shuttle.

I enjoyed spending time in nature, along with the physical and mental challenge. Since then, I have sought larger and more challenging climbs. Last year, I summited Mount Marcy (the highest point in New York State), Mount Katahdin (the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and highest point in Maine), and Pike's Peak in Colorado.

As she did on Manitou, Sueyoung made her presence felt on each of these trips. On Katahdin, it was the rainbow that appeared before me as I found myself descending a rocky and exposed ridge alone in a September snow storm.

On the Pike's Peak Cog Railway, I just about cried as I saw some Korean children playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors," a Korean national pastime that Sueyoung and I used to engage in while riding the 7 train to Sunnyside.

Rainbow on Mt. Marcy. Sueyoung loved the song, "The Rainbow Connection." Two of her young students, performed a touching version at her memorial service.

Rainbow on Mt. Katahdin

Korean child playing 가위 바위 보 while descending Pike's Peak on the Cog Railway

Kilimanjaro was a natural progression. I had always wished to visit Africa, and the summit of Kilimanjaro just may be the closest I can get to Sueyoung without risking my own life At 19,311, feet above sea level, it is a challenging high altitude climb. However, it is neither technical in nature nor filled with the objective dangers that you might find on Mount Everest, Denali or even Mount Ranier. Anyone who is physically fit and can handle the altitude can make it.

The trip proved to be my most memorable travel experience. Please enjoy the pictures, and consider making a donation to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in Sueyoung's memory. Thank You!

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