NEVER having hiked a day in her life, Nickey Hayes, manager at Beeltlestone Kwikspar, jumped into the deep end last month when she reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Hayes explained that it didn’t take much convincing for her to take on the challenge.
“I’m the type of person who always wants to try new things and push myself to the limit whenever I can. So when my brother who had attempted the hike last year started talking to me about it, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Hayes.
The five-man team which included an American, a Frenchman, a Finish hiker and her brother, David who now lives in Tanzania, completed the 5895-metre climb in five days. That’s thanks to a solid training schedule, and a good sense of camaraderie among the climbers , said Hayes.
“When my brother attempted the climb, he didn’t make it and he says it was because each person had their own agenda on the hike. However this time we climbed as a team. Refusing to leave a man behind and pushing each other to the top.
“Training cannot be neglected though. I had a personal trainer for six months, five days a week prior to the hike. During our sessions we focused on core stability, weight training and a lot of cardio. Anybody can do it, you just have train,” said Hayes.
As one can imagine there were challenges while attempting the hike. But once they had reached the Uhuru Peak Hayes said it was well worth it.
“The hardest part of climbing a mountain is acclimatising to the conditions. All the training in the world won’t help you if you can’t acclimatise. And believe me if you think its cold in Port Elizabeth, it’s nothing compared to Kili.
“But all of the insomnia I suffered was worth it once we reached Uhuru. We only spent 15 minutes at the summit watching a stunning sunrise. It was such a beautiful and emotional experience. We all cried once we got there,” said Hayes.
Now that Hayes is back she is able to focus on the things she loves, with charity topping that list.
She explained that she got her giving heart from her late mother Elma.
“The elderly and the little ones is were my heart lies. When I look around me and see all the poverty and hardship I can’t help but try to make a difference. Right now my focus is on Gelvandale Frail Care.”