39 forum posts
i had always done some overnight car camping with friends and family, and i have always enjoyed rock climbing and hiking. my first real experience with all of these was when i went to africa on an internship. there was one other guy that went with me, and we were both fairly interested in climbing in mountain we came across. luckily for us, so was the missionary we were staying with. any time we had a day off, we went and climbed a mountain. i actually got to be the first person to ever reach the peak of one of them, and named it turtle peak (the peak consisted of two large rocks that looked like a turtle). i know that i was the first because the village next to it had never allowed white men to even get on the mountain before, due to the presence of a fetish near the top (for those who don't know, a fetish is a type of idol, or a place where a spirit is believed to reside). also, i know that no african had climbed it because the only reason an african climbs a mountain is to get to the other side, and they have no interest in getting to the very top. it was one of the greatest experiences in my life. we also went on a campout with some of the leaders of the churches there, and we hiked up another mountain and camped out on a cliff that overlooked this gorgeous valley. we mostly used warm weather bags, since temperatures there usually ran in the 80s at night. i personally used a fleece bag that the missionary loaned me (we weren't told to bring sleeping bags on the internship). unfortunately, it was also the rainy season when we were there, and it was when i truly learned what that meant. it went from a peaceful morning to hurricane force rainstorm in the course of about 5 minutes. of course, the experience of waking up inside a cloud was amazing. overall, i never wanted to leave, even though we had to retreat to a cave in the rocks it was raining so bad. i know i'm going back to africa, and i will be much better prepared next time.