Kilimanjaro Climb a Northwoods Team EffortSubmitted: 02/25/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Climbers usually gather at base camp.

And if the climb is Kilimanjaro, base camp means Africa.

But for one Northwoods woman, the climb started well before that - at a Lac du Flambeau school.

"It started out as sort of my dream," says Mary Poer.

"My dream" became "our dream".

Mary works for the Lac du Flambeau public school.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro became a team effort - with the entire school behind her.

"When I thought of her climbing the mountain, I thought she must have been crazy," says Lilith Schuman, an eighth grader at the school.

Even so, three weeks ago, Mary made it the 19,341 feet to the summit.

The idea started while chatting with her family.

"We started comparing bucket lists for turning 50. Once I thought of Kilimanjaro, I couldn't quit thinking about it, and I decided I had better do something about it," she says.

She started training for the journey last October.

But how do you get in shape for climbing a mountain in dead-flat northern Wisconsin?

"I felt rather sheepish about it. I live near the Bearskin Trail, and I would put on my backpack, and I would put rocks in it, to be a lot heavier than what I would actually be carrying."

The way up Kilimanjaro was far from a smooth ride.

In what's called the Lunar Saddle, her group ran across a plane that had crashed in 2008.

"It was sobering to realize, okay, we're in a high altitude now, and this is serious business," says Mary.

"I was pretty confident she was going to make it. She seems like a person that wouldn't give up," Lilith says.

She didn't.

On February 7th, Mary reached the summit.

"It's bright. It's so bright up there, but lunar-like. Really lunar-like. It was like you were on the moon," remembers Mary.

She knew that thousands of miles away, the students at Lac du Flambeau were behind her for every step.

"Realizing that I had made the summit, I was actually thinking of all the kids here, because at points, I wanted to quit."

Her climb was not only a check off the bucket list for Mary, but an inspiration to grade schoolers.

"That we could make a world record or something," thinks Lilith.

And she returned to the school with a hero's welcome.

"Absolutely grand. I don't know how else to describe it. I'm blessed. I'm blessed to be amongst these young people."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

ANTIGO - A pair of turkeys likely destined for someone's Thanksgiving dinner table will instead live out long and happy lives thanks to their daring escape.

The turkeys were in a truck headed down Highway 29 in Wausau Sunday morning.  Their crate fell off the back of the truck and onto the highway.  Another driver called police, but somehow the birds weren't hit by cars.

+ Read More

Play Video

ST. GERMAIN - Ringing in the holiday season can be a special time of year for families.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Shops in downtown Minocqua want a new way to draw customers to their businesses. The restart of the Minocqua Island Business Association comes at a perfect time, with the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Those businesses want to team up to attract people to downtown Minocqua. It's a more specific mission than the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

+ Read More

VILAS COUNTY - An economic group in Vilas County can thank a local casino for a recent donation.

The Lake of the Torches Resort Casino presented members of the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC)with a $2,000 donation.

The donation happened earlier this month.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - The last time Rhinelander updated its biking and pedestrian plan  Lincoln Street didn't have sidewalks and Bill Clinton was in office.  Now, the city is making a push to create better trails and connect them around town and it's using grant money to make it a reality.

City Council member Alex Young showed Newswatch 12 around a new pedestrian trail's layout Wednesday on the city's south side.

The 10-foot-wide paved trail will run along the Pelican River where the old waste water treatment plant stood on Boyce Drive.  It will connect to the new boat landing and run up Boyce Drive to Kemp, eventually connecting to the Chamber Riverwalk and hotels along Kemp Street.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - On the day before Thanksgiving, many people simply refuse to cook.

So they do the next best thing and order out something cheap and easy: pizza.

Believe it or not, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days for ordering pizza.

That's no surprise to local pizza places.

The owner of Kids Korner Pizza in Rhinelander said she knew this week would be busy, and she's prepared for it.

"We know it's coming," said Cassie Kamke. "We order a bunch of cheese ahead of time so we're ready for it."

Besides the pizza, she said this weekend is big for meat and cheese platters. She and her staff were up early putting those together. Today she said she saw about 20 go out.

"I was here at 8 o'clock today slicing cheese," Kamke said. "And pizza sales are up as well."

Kamke added that Thanksgiving week is only the beginning of holiday sales. She said meat and cheese platters become even more popular throughout the month of December and through Christmas.

Her one suggestion: calling ahead to order. That way customers don't have to wait. 

+ Read More

BLACKWELL - The Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County will celebrate its 50th anniversary next week. Students and staff will celebrate the occasion on Monday, November 30th.

They'll have a cake cutting ceremony at 3:00 p.m. The community is invited to join the students and staff in the recreation hall from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here