Over the holidays, Eddie Frank led the Manley family on a special Christmas Kilimanjaro Climb. John Manley, the patriarch of the clan and former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, was back for his 2nd climb, this time to share Kilimanjaro with his family. Here are Eddie’s reflections…
We’re down. And we’re dirty. But it’s a clean kind of dirty. We earned it. And we earned it the hard way. It’s the kind of dirt that reaches deep down into your soul, and cleanses your spirit. ‘Cos we just slogged for 9 days and 42 miles – up and down a rocky muddy mountain just to say we did. It’s the kind of dirt that’s hard to wash off, but you know that once you do, you’ve washed away the toughest thing you’ve ever done — into the past. And we all know that the past is history. And history never lies. It’s plain and simple – for everyone to see.
This tough climb is now etched into the annals of the Manley family history. It binds them together in a way they have never been bound before. I know, because I was there. I slogged with them day by day, hour by hour, and watched as they dug deeper than they had ever done before; pushing their bodies and minds to the limit on seemingly endless days – above billowing clouds, through pressure and pain, and all under the banner of YES.
The entire family climbed, ate, laughed and reached the summit together. They descended together. John, always honourable, shrugged off pain and wrote if off to just another story to tell. Rebecca, through her tears, drove her demons away, and trooped forward. David beat back the bad boy of failure, and battled the UV, praying for an RV all the way to the summit. Sarah found the power of one, and marched forth in sturdy silence. Denis doubted nothing, and doubled down with his food and fortitude. Adam plunged forward, as he dissertated on the endless varieties of Canadian candy. Michelle ploughed through the pangs of hunger, and would have begged forgiveness for consuming tortellini. Belen tiptoed through the tundra, as if she was walking on the beach. And Victoria, with the greatest of humour, conducted her cacophony of coughs as if she was performing for the Queen.
With our success now firmly planted in the soil of Manley history, we will now spread our wings and fan out to distant corners of the planet, where, true to the spirit of adventure, we will seek out different dirt to feed our soul.
This dispatch originally appeared in the Manley’s Kilimanjaro blog. Follow their adventure day by day: http://kilimanleyjaro.wordpress.com/