08/18/2011 04:40 pm ET Updated Oct 18, 2011

Climbing Kilimanjaro

When I was 22 I climbed Kilimanjaro in my tennis shoes.

I was teaching in Kenya and, always up for an adventure, didn't even blink when two Englishmen I knew suggested a trek to Africa's highest point. We had parkas, sleeping bags, two porters and the mountain all to ourselves. While the feeling of euphoria I felt when I summited to 19, 341 feet remains fresh, so is the memory of gasping for air as my African guides pulled and pushed me to the top.

So six months ago when a colleague invited me to join a group of women, most of them journalists, who were climbing Kilimanjaro in July, my first reaction was a genuine "been there, done that." Now I'm 68 with arthritic knees and this proposed trek was even longer than my first; seven days instead of five.

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