Climbing one of the highest mountains in the world wasn't originally on Ruthie Magruder's summer plans. Then, her mom changed her mind.
Ruthie, an Augusta Prep senior, accompanied her mother, Lillian, on a two-week trip to Africa just before the start of the school year. The highlights of the trek included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as well as a safari afterward.
“I thought it was really cool," Ruthie said of climbing Africa's highest mountain. "At first, I didn’t want to go. I thought my mom was crazy.”
The Magruders departed for their mother-daughter trip on July 23. When they arrived in Tanzania, they prepared to embark upon a four-day hike to reach the summit of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 feet above sea level. Ruthie said they climbed at night so they could see the sunrise.
“It was freezing,” she said. “It was so dark. It made it difficult to see.”
Once they reached the top, the Marguders placed a few flags, including an Augusta Prep flag, and took some photos. They were told to hurry with the pictures because of the lack of oxygen at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ruthie said after they reached the summit it took two days to travel back down the mountain. As for the future, Ruthie said she has no plans to climb even higher mountains like Mount Everest or Denali.
“This was a check-it-off-the-list kind of thing,” she said. “But I would recommend it for other people.”