Summer Adventure: Reaching Kilimanjaro's Top For the final installment of our Summer Adventure series, host Liane Hansen speaks with Craig Saunders of New Jersey about his recent trip up Mt. Kilimanjaro with his daughter, Stevie.
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Summer Adventure: Reaching Kilimanjaro's Top

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Summer Adventure: Reaching Kilimanjaro's Top

Summer Adventure: Reaching Kilimanjaro's Top

Summer Adventure: Reaching Kilimanjaro's Top

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/94365299/94365272" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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For the final installment of our Summer Adventure series, host Liane Hansen speaks with Craig Saunders of New Jersey about his recent trip up Mt. Kilimanjaro with his daughter, Stevie.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Labor Day has come and gone, kids are back in school, days are growing cooler and shorter. And our two summer series have reached their final installments. In a moment, we'll hear from Captain Fatty Goodlander one last time. But first, our last summer adventure. We followed listeners as they've boated down the Mississippi, ridden camels in the Gobi desert, and camped out at the Airstream Rally in Bozeman, Montana. And that's only some of your adventures.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BRIAN FRANKLE (Proprietor, ULA-Equipment, Logan, Utah; Backpacker): Hi. My name is Brian Frankle. I'm from Logan, Utah. This summer I'm walking across the state of Idaho with my dog Ritz(ph).

Ms. ANNE THOMPSON(ph) (Summerville, Massachusetts): My name is Anne Thompson from Somerville, Massachusetts. And this summer I sailed with my family from Virginia to Norway on our 50-foot sailboat.

Ms. SUZANNE BISHOP(ph) (Arlington, Virginia): My name is Suzanne Bishop. And our family of four plus one Chihuahua embarked on our summer adventure, which was to drive from Arlington, Virginia, to Fairbanks, Alaska.

HANSEN: This week we're talking to Craig Saunders of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Earlier this month he and his 16-year-old daughter, Stevie, hiked Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. We've reached him at his home where he's had a few weeks to recover. Welcome to the program.

Mr. CRAIG SAUNDERS (Mountain Climber): Good morning.

HANSEN: What was it that prompted this kind of adventure this summer?

Mr. SAUNDERS: Probably a little bit of a bucket list thing. Ever since second grade when my friend Ricky Carson taught me how to pronounce Tanzanica(ph) and Kilimanjaro, it's been a mystical thing. So I'd always thought about it, my daughter talked about it, and we decided we do it.

HANSEN: How long was the trek? How long did it take you to reach the top?

Mr. SAUNDERS: We took six days going up and a day and a half coming back.

HANSEN: Really? Only a day and a half.

Mr. SAUNDERS: Coming back down was brutal. Everybody had a hard day, and that was my hard day.

HANSEN: If coming down was the worst part of the hike for you, what was the best part?

Mr. SAUNDERS: Well, I mean, I guess you have to say reaching the summit was good, camping out a thousand feet under that at 18,000 feet, and going with Stevie and seeing her do that. I mean, she amazed me during that trip.

HANSEN: What did she say about it?

Mr. SAUNDERS: She took it in stride. The trek is thought of as a non-technical climb, meaning that you don't need special equipment or you don't need special skills to get there. But we hiked a day and a half before we saw the mountain. And when she saw it, her first statement was, it looks technical to me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: But she had a good time?

Mr. SAUNDERS: She had a great time.

HANSEN: Yeah. What did you see when were up at the top?

Mr. SAUNDERS: Huge big glaciers. The peak itself was snow-swept with no snow right there. And of course, for days we had been above the cloud layer.

HANSEN: That's always so out-of-worldly when that happens.

Mr. SAUNDERS: Yeah, absolutely. I had looked at the pictures from the Mars Lander and they showed these little polygons, the permafrost on Mars, and we actually saw that on the mountain, too.

HANSEN: Wow. Do you plan to conquer any more peaks?

Mr. SAUNDERS: Well, that's a definite possibility, it's not ruled out.

HANSEN: Do you think Stevie will go with you?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SAUNDERS: Well, she's welcome. She's concentrating now on high school and getting into colleges.

HANSEN: If she's asked to write what I did on my summer vacation, she's got a great essay, huh?

Mr. SAUNDERS: Absolutely.

HANSEN: Craig Saunders of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and his daughter Stevie hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa this summer. Thank you very much, Craig.

Mr. SAUNDERS: Thanks, Liane.

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