Unlike Dr. Martin Luther King, I have not been to the mountain top. But I have seen my share of the world’s famous mountains. Some we viewed from an airplane, some from land. Some we climbed, at least partially.
Mount Everest (29,028 feet) We got to see Everest from a rickety plane, called Buddha Air. We waited most of the day for the fog to clear. When we flew over Everest, the pilot had everyone (mostly Japanese tourists) look out the windows on the left. Yes, the plane tilted significantly. And of course, Nepal was interesting. Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay were first to summit in 1953.
Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) An overnight in Arusha yielded a stunning view of Kilimanjaro the next day. We met several people who went on a climb of Kilimanjaro, some successful, some not. A dormant volcano, it last erupted 360,000 years ago. It is the highest point in Africa.
Mount Fujii (12,776 feet) One of the joys of taking the Shinkansen is seeing Fujii for the first time. Of course, visiting my Mother country had nothing to do with its breathtaking beauty. Climbs for common hikers are offered, but time did not allow.
Denali (20,308 feet) Take the train from Fairbanks to Anchorage for the best views of Denali. Wildlife abound, and train is truly a flag stop train (do you know what that means?). And the wildlife, wow!
Mount Whitney (14,505) Several of my friends have climbed it. But it stands out for me since many of my family were incarcerated at the base of Whitney, in the eastern California desert area, Manzanar, during WW2. It is probably not a good memory for them!
El Capitan (3,000 feet) While not the highest, certainly among the most spectacular. No matter how many times we visit Yosemite, it is simply breathtaking! Many friends have done the climb along the cables.
Cadillac Mountain At only 1,520 feet, Cadillac rides high in Acadia National Park in Maine. But it is the highest point on the entire eastern seaboard.
Table Mountain (3558 feet) On a visit to Cape Town, we just had to experience the most famous and distinctive mountains. Said to be over 2 million years old, our friend, Barry the V, guided us to the top, then bought us numerous beers afterward to celebrate.
Cuernos del Paine (9462 feet) Probably the highlight of our drive in Chile, from top to bottom, was Torres del Paine. It was cold, windy, desolate, and stunningly beautiful. Of course, we got lost, and suffered a flat tire on the way home.
Mount Cook (12,217 feet) Making a return trip to New Zealand is high on my list. But places like Mount Cook and Milford Sound draw visitors from around the world. It is a sacred place for the Maoris. The views almost anywhere are spectacular.
Mount Robson (12,972 feet) Driving to Lake Okanagan, or riding the VIA Canadian Railway, the Canadian Rockies are imposing. And the area is home to diverse wildlife, and numerous natural wonders. And the wines and ice cream are tops.
Teton Range (13,769 feet) Would you believe we found Grand Teton as spectacular as Yellowstone? It almost felt like John Wayne would come riding down the path with his six-gun blazing.
Mount Rainier (14,409 feet) With 130 trails, we had to try at least one. But it was cold that day, the snow was blowing, in the middle of summer. We settled for some photos. It is a strangely unique trek to this area from Seattle.
Annapurna (26,545 feet) Our guide in Nepal insisted that I go on a trek to Annapurna Basecamp on my next visit. It has not happened yet.
None of this was planned, save for perhaps Everest. I generally stay away from high altitudes, though Cuzco and Mexico City were challenging. But there seems to be something magical about big mountains. Perhaps you can explain it better than I can?