November 21, 1997
A standing-room-only audience of 100-plus Obsidians and guests vicariously experienced the grueling climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in East Africa by Chris Shuraleff and guest Neal Steenberger. But first, all were appropriately conditioned for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with a bountiful feast of turkey (thanks to Birgitte Williams) and copious trimmings.
Many fascinating African artifacts were on display; and guests Dennis Urso and Joel Lindstrom played African music on native instruments at the start and intermission of the program.
Kilimanjaro, at 19,3421 ft.; encompasses six distinct ecological zones, from desert to Arctic. Chris did a 10-day 100-mile climb, starting from 7000 ft.; Neal took the shorter, steeper southern route. Both climbers attested to the devastating (and sometime deadly!) effect of the extreme altitude. Interestingly, both found the steep trek back down to be the coup de grace! However, the climb was for both Chris and Neal a meaningful spiritual experience as well as a test of physical endurance.
On a less stressful note, Neal closed with engaging slides of the many wild animals that inhabit the game reserves in the lowlands.