Waddell Arrives in Africa

(Panic Button Media)
Chris Waddell was the subject of a recent CBS Evening News story. He's attempting to become the first paraplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. His blog below was submitted Sept. 21, 2009.

We're here. Everything arrived but the rigs and Dave Penney's gear, which should arrive tomorrow evening on the next flight from Amsterdam. Not having the rigs will make things more challenging, but that's why we built in a couple of days before the climb.

It was really nice to get on the plane after the frenetic pace of getting ready, but the inactivity was difficult too. Movies, books and sleep were not quite enough to rest my fitful mind which is continually working out mountain scenarios. I know that part of my personal goal is to quiet my mind, but it's more difficult when there's no physical action. Ah, the lessons begin before the mountain.

The team is tremendous as always. Director Amanda Stoddard, director of photography Patrick Reddish, cinematographer Mike Stoner, and multiple media manager Ryan Gass are excited, prepared, and capturing footage along the way.

See Karen Brown's profile of Chris Waddell
Read Karen Brown's Blog

For security reasons they weren't able to catch Bob More, in flip flops, giving me a piggyback down the stairs from the plane to Tarmac. Bob, who was a fraternity brother and is the President of the One Rev board, and Nate Bryan, who ski raced with me at Middlebury and is our doctor, are new additions to the team. Along with Expedition Manager Dave Penney, it's a great group that has weathered the day and a half of travel from U.S. Mountain West to slightly sub-equatorial Tanzania.

The air was a soft, smooth 80 degrees as we disembarked into a deep darkness absent of street lights or almost any other lights.

I'm writing in the Rover as we drive from the remote airport to the busy city of Arusha. Meeting our drivers, Peter and Kihigo, with hugs and handshakes felt like a homecoming after our previous two trips. The more people we get to know, the more connected we are to Africa and
Tanzaia.

I hope for quality rest before the street corner preacher with the speakers, I'm sure he'll still be there, starts his sermon at about 5am tomorrow morning. From the big, deep dark sky, to the friends, the Rovers and even that early morning preacher, we're feeling comfortable and ready.


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