Two brothers recently had the adventure of a lifetime.
Chris Berlow, a Yorktown resident and his brother John, a Peekskill resident, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, in March. The climb helped raise $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is headquartered in Rye.
Climbing Kilimanjaro took six days to get up and two days to get back down. The Berlows jumped at the chance the second they heard of the opportunity.
"To go and raise funds for a wonderful cause and climb the highest mountain Africa is too much to pass up," Chris Berlow said.
The Berlows did a lot of training before they attempted to climb Kilimanjaro. The Berlows ran a marathon in January, and did difficult hikes with a full pack on their back. Chris, who runs United Martial Arts Centers, also did a lot of strength training.
"The highest success rate for Kilimanjaro is mature women," Berlow said. "The lowest success rate is young men. Mature women have the ability to pace themselves while young men try to get up there as fast as possible. It's not about getting up there as fast as you can. It's about taking one step after another until you get to the top."
This was Berlow's first time traveling to Africa and he witnessed the challenges people face firsthand.
"In America, we take a lot of what we have for granted," Berlow said. "I witnessed a lot of poverty. Our guide was working for $2 so he could provide porridge for his family. It makes you realize how lucky we are."
By the time they reached the top of Kilimanjaro, the Berlows were physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally depleted.
"We got a little emotional," Berlow said. "The views were breathtaking. We were elated and exhausted."
Berlow said anyone who wants to climb Kilimanjaro should make sure to train and be slow and steady.
"Don't rush up the mountain," Berlow said. "Listen to your guide. Savor every step, it's quite the experience."
Now that they've climbed Kilimanjaro, the Berlows are already thinking of what's next.
"We have the goal of doing Everest in 2018," Berlow said. "Then we want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail."