When Tim Ward and his 20 year old son Josh set out to “conquer” Kilimanjaro it is with a sense of adventure, of walking in the steps of the many that have gone before and real desire to reform the bonds, that of father and son, from an adult perspective.
All the research done before the journey stood them in good stead, but did not completely prepare them emotionally for the journey they were to undertake both, physically and spiritually as they learned far more than ever expected as they slowly climbed their way to the top of one the worlds unique mountains, that of Kilimanjaro.
From the very first day of arrival, looking up at the mountain, meeting the local guides who would become their lifeline as they trekked ever upward, to other members of the group also undertaking the journey, both Tim and son Josh realised they would go up as the people they now were but would come back down having faced much more than they ever expected, which would change for all time the timber of their relationship.
Ward talks us through his journey with Josh in such a way you feel you are there on the mountain. You feel the altitude sickness, you suffer the angst of being able to take the next step, relate to the emotion between father and son as they bravely revisit periods in their relationship both good and bad, which allows them to re-build their relationship from an adult perspective.
As a world heritage listed site Kilimanjaro is unique in its environment which is discussed in great length within the journey bringing to the story an issue which needs to be far more public than it already is by looking at what the effect of the “tourism aspect” brings to Tanzania in employment for many, along with economic growth, which sadly leads to the damage being done to a delicate and unique environment.
Tim Ward has told his story and that of Josh as it happens with very little held back, even the part where they are turned into “Zombies” by the altitude and the emotion which accompanies conquering the final hurdle at the top of the mountain.
Ward is full of praise for their guides and the men who undertake the journey daily, to set up camp, make sure the “tourists” are as comfortable as possible and are educated into the ways of the mountain as they climb ever higher.
Within the pages there are two stories, that of Kilimanjaro and that of time Ward and son, both combined to create a good look into human relationships along with that of climate change relationships and what can be done to create respect on both fronts.
Enjoyable, funny, coupled with very funny, in places, challenging and inspirational this is one book that is hard to put down until, like climbing Kilimanjaro, you reach the very last page.