A few years back I finally acquiesced and signed up for a trip that involved hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Since completing my first hiking trip to Machu Picchu (another good story), my hiking abilities had improved tremendously. After years of good hearted badgering, my long time hiking buddy Chaaya, was successful in convincing me that hiking to the roof of Africa would be a fun thing to do. Also accompanying me on this adventure was Atti, who after meeting on a previous hiking trip we realized we were destined to get each other into lots of trouble if left alone too long. The rest of the group remained a mystery until the day we all met at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Well before the trip’s departure date, Chaaya and I worked together to pack the necessary logistical items for the trip; while Atti and I contrived to pack the fun items for the trip. Bringing the necessary items was easy as we had a list to follow and everything we brought was painstakingly categorized and methodically packed in plastic bags, as Chaaya and I are organization freaks.
For the fun items, Atti and I had to be way more creative as we were specifically told, that although we had cheerful porters to carry our larger items, such as our sleeping bags, mats, and pillows, we needed to be as conservative as possible and bring only compulsory and lightweight items with us. Being the imaginative souls we are, Atti and I decided it made perfect sense to bring items to commemorate our summit victory. I mean, who hikes for days and days without a shower or hair products to reach 19,340 feet and doesn’t have some sort of a big time shindig upon reaching the end goal? No one I know, that’s for sure.
Atti and I didn’t exactly know what items we would bring, but after several independent trips to our neighborhood Buck Boutique, we decided it made perfect sense to bring just the necessary supplies to have a luau party at the summit. We decided to pretty much abide by the strong suggestion of bringing only lightweight essentials and agreed we would just bring a few Hawaiian leis with us. Unfortunately, being the people we are, Atti and I independently (and covertly) each collected additional items which would ensure a successful luau. As we packed our bags for the trip with no further discussion, we later learned that we had each rationalized the Hawaiian flowers, straws, coconut cup bras, grass skirts, matching paper plates, napkins, and themed flags were indeed extremely lightweight, absolutely quintessential, and could (most likely) be recycled again. The porters would never know they were carrying these airy, yet necessary items in their bags.
Because of the extreme cold temperatures and plans for a short lived stay at the actual summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, we realized it might be better to have a pre summit celebration instead at the Moir Hut, which was positioned at a reasonable luau party altitude of 14,000 feet. This change of plans turned out to be an advantageous decision as the night we had our luau was also the birthday of our great guide, Benjamin.
Being the exceptionally brilliant and devious people we are, Atti and I met privately with the cook and kitchen staff to get their permission to secretly decorate the entire dining tent before dinner. Finally! Out came and up went all of our luau cargo we had brought half way across the world and mid way up Mount Kilimanjaro! Needless to say, the other hikers in our group were amazed we were able to pack and carry all these party supplies up the mountain (Ha). Our guides were incredibly entertained by our party planning abilities, and even the porters (who were generously tipped at journey’s end) were amused by the absurdity of hosting a luau-birthday party combo at 14,000 feet. The final result? A good time was had by all!! And Benjamin our birthday boy? He was extremely surprised and flattered we had this party in his honor. He continues to assure me to this day, that although he has stayed at Moir Hut with many groups since leading my group to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, never before or after, has he had such a fantastic and memorably unique experience as he had the night of his luau birthday party!