It’s safe to say that Rye’s father and son tandem of Ray and Ray Tierney have an altogether new perspective on what a “vacation” can be. The duo ventured to Tanzania in late June, and then made an eight-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. They reached the summit of the 19,000-plus-foot African mountain July 7.
“You can always go and visit Florida,” said the elder Tierney. “This was something my son and I will never forget. It was an incredible experience to share with him.”
Tierney, 50, noted the journey up the world’s tallest freestanding mountain was as much a mental challenge as it was a physical one. The need to stay focused was paramount, as a variety of elements can easily derail the ascent. The group walked 11 hours in one day to reach the top, and then another five to get back down to where they slept the night before.
“It was exhilarating to reach the top,” said the 16-year-old son. “The adrenaline rush was off the charts. And, as my father told me, I can’t complain about any difficulties I face in the future. If I’m in the middle of a hard test, all I’ll have to do is think back to what I accomplished on Kilimanjaro.”
The younger Tierney admitted he had no idea what to expect heading into the trip, but came away astounded.
“Every part of the mountain was so different,” he said. “We were in a rainforest and a desert in the same day, and then – at 17,000 feet – you look down and you’re on an island surrounded by clouds. It was just … phenomenal.”