Feb 24, 2012 8:10 AM
MARANA - Dee Kaumeyer's journey to Africa's highest peaks started in 2010, with the film "Three Peaks, Three Weeks".
"When the movie was over, I was crying. My husband said to me that touched you and I said yes, it did, you have no idea how much. He goes what do you mean and I said I want to do it", said Kaumeyer.
The three peaks: Mount Kenya, Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro; symbols for three different causes. "The first one is for conservation and the second one was for a school called the School of St. Jude. The third one was for SIC, which helps with AIDS and HIV awareness", said Kaumeyer.
To prepare for this daunting challenge, Kaumeyer repeatedly hiked local trails like Picacho Peak, Pusch Ridge and Blackett's Ridge.
Hiking Africa's highest peaks was much harder. Kaumeyer and her group started the hike to each summit in the night.
"You're probably only stepping maybe 18 inches each time, because they want you to go so slowly. We're traveling on an 18 inch trail and you can look down one way and you can look down the other and you don't want to fall either direction", said Kaumeyer.
Three peaks, all accomplished in three weeks. Kaumeyer described the sense of accomplishment as, "The Sound of Music moment: where she's standing up there and twirling because its just so beautiful and you are so excited and exhilarated that you made your climbs."
Kaumeyer returned to Marana a few weeks ago. The first thing she did? "I kissed my newlywed husband!", exclaimed Kaumeyer.
Dee's Final Hiking Stats:
- Elevation for the three peaks: Mount Meru - 14,980 feet; Mount Kenya - 17,057 feet; Mount Kilimanjaro 19,360 feet.
- Over 120 miles hiked in three weeks
- Combined elevation gain of 35,000 feet
For more information on the Peaks Foundation, click here.