Former Council Board President Hikes Mt. Kilimanjaro
Former Atlanta Area Council Board President David Moody has made his return to Atlanta after a multi-week excursion to Tanzania where he climbed Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro and spent over a week on safari in the Serengeti wilderness. The trip was inspired by a text from the President of Morehouse College, David A. Thomas, who knew Moody would be up for the challenge. Both men have a love and appreciation for the outdoors and adventure and have endured challenging treks before. In 2017, Moody spent 8 days hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon, and Thomas summited the highest peak in Mexico with his son. But neither man had attempted something quite like Kilimanjaro.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa standing at 19,341 feet above sea level – an altitude that challenges even the most experienced hikers, but the two 66-year-old men would not let that deter them. As Moody likes to say, “I will age but I will never become old,” so he trained nearly every day for a year in preparation for the trek.
Scroll through Dave Moody’s Instagram and you will find dozens of posts made from the top of Stone Mountain or on a trail with inspiring words to conquer your fears and self-doubt. Dave was a victim of child sexual abuse and firmly believes in turning one’s trauma into triumph. He would not let his past or his age keep him from accomplishing something great.
He attributes his passion for adventure and love of the outdoors to his time in Scouting, and like any good Scout, Dave made sure he was prepared for the excursion.
“When things got tough on Mt Kilimanjaro, and I felt like quitting, I always thought about my Scout training. Scouts don't quit when things get tough. I kept going because that is what scouts do and I prayed for strength to keep going.”
After spending a couple of days getting acclimated in the city of Arusha, Moody and Thomas began their trek on January 17. For Moody, the experience was physically demanding but the mental challenges are what required the greatest strength. There were nights early in the trek where he experienced panic attacks, but he leaned on his Scouting experiences and found ways to push through.
On day 6 of 8, Dave had reached an elevation of 15,380 when he began to experience symptoms of altitude sickness. He had already witnessed three emergency helicopter evacuations that day and was not intent on being the fourth. After discussions with his guide and understanding the risks involved in continuing, Dave chose to forgo completing the summit.
He admits that at first there were tears of sadness, but they quickly turned to tears of joy when he thought about all he had accomplished and the fears and anxieties he had overcome.
“I learned so much about myself, and I found a new level of toughness that existed in me mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.”
Dave made his descent down the mountain and recovered from the altitude sickness. After the 8-day trek, he was joined by his wife Karla, and they celebrated their 40-year anniversary by going on a safari in the Serengeti. They slept in treehouses, got up close with wild animals, saw natural landmarks and visited a Massai tribal village. Dave says, “it was Scouting 57 years ago that created my love for adventure”, and that love for adventure might just be enough for him to try Mt. Kilimanjaro one more time.