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Three Prescott Women to Hike Kilimanjaro

Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

Three Prescott Women are about to embark on a journey to hike Kilimanjaro and volunteer in Tanzania. The two activities don’t have an obvious tie. How does hiking this massive mountain in the United Republic of Tanzania link to spending time volunteering at an orphanage?

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Alvina Green (left) and Michelle Fain (right) hike Thumb Butte in Prescott, AZ.

From July 1st to July 15th, 2022, Prescott residents Michelle Fain, Alvina Green, and Dr. Jeanette Pilotte will travel with a group of 26 women through the travel company K2 Adventure Travel to Tanzania.

“Travel Like No Other” is the tagline K2 Adventure Travel has on their website and this holds very true. K2 Adventure Travel has hiking trips in destinations like Tanzania and Peru where they partner with the non-profit program K2 Adventures Foundation. These trips involve hiking a destination like Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Machu Pichu in Peru but both involve a component of support to the local community.

In 2021 some friends approached Michelle Fain regarding the idea of hiking Kilimanjaro and through them, Fain learned of the K2 Adventures Foundation. She was sold on the idea right away. This wasn’t Fain’s first trek up the mountain, however, four years earlier, she’d taken the 19,341-foot climb up the mountain with her son.

Fain shared that her experience with K2 Adventure Travel was a different experience and she enjoyed having the service component to go with the adventure. Adding to her experience in 2021, Fain was approached about being a guide for future treks up Kilimanjaro since she was a strong, experienced hiker.

The 2022 trip came together very quickly with Fain and the other two women. Fain had signed on to go hike Kilimanjaro with K2 Adventure Travel and someone mentioned Alvina Green. Fain recalled Green expressing a desire to do the hike in the past and when she approached Alvina the answer was an almost immediate yes.

Dr. Jeannette Pilotte had recently gone on a mission trip to Chile where she did medical volunteer work and while they were there visited Machu Picchu. This experience inspired Pilotte and when she came back, she said she wanted to do Kilimanjaro. She was signed on for the trip within a day.

Before they begin their hike, the group of 26 women will spend time in Arusha, Tanzania volunteering at the Summit Happy Home orphanage. A program developed to give displaced and orphaned children a leg up in life by providing a safe place to live with healthcare, a good education, and proper nutrition. The program also allows for the children to have a permanent home where they can stay through getting a higher education before stepping out on their own as adults.

In addition, funding from K2 Adventure Travel goes to the non-profit K2 Adventures Foundation to support The White Hat Project. This program is still growing and working with NSK Hospital in Arusha to provide a safe haven for young girls who are victims of sexual violence. The program allows for these young women to have a safe place to live and receive pre and post-natal care.

Getting to the hike

“It’s a challenge. It’s a mental and physical challenge that most people can do,” said Fain when asked who could do the hike. She shared that there is prep work involved and much of it is spent hiking the trails in Prescott. She talked about doing the Prescott Triple Crown (Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain, Spruce Mountain) as part of her training. The three hikes combined have the same elevation gain as you would get in a day on Kilimanjaro.

In addition, Fain shared how having a strong lower body is an important part of the prep. Hiking is important but so are squats, step-ups, lunges, bikes, and cardio work.

Fain shared that being able to complete a hike like the Prescott Triple Crown is important as it matches the same elevation gain (3,000 feet) as one day on Kilimanjaro. The first day on the mountain is 6 miles with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Summit day is also 3,000 feet of elevation gain but in just 3 miles.

As daunting as this hike may seem, Fain said that this is actually very doable. “It’s a trail,” she said. There is one part she described as “the best part of the entire hike,” called the Barranca Wall that may seem a little challenging which Fain describes as “a bit of a scramble where you can’t use your trekking poles. But other than that, it’s a trail.”

About K2 Adventures Foundation

K2 Adventures Foundation is a sister organization to our travel company, K2 Adventure Travel. Both organizations are inspired by an unwavering belief in the limitless potential of the human spirit.

The White Hat Project

The White Hat Project (WHP) will build Tanzania’s first safe haven for young girls who are victims of sexual violence. This initiative is the next step in K2 Adventures Foundation’s successful Tanzanian philanthropic and community service program that began in 2009. Their decade of service will now be expanded to actively address the growing needs of an overlooked subset of Tanzania’s female population. They believe the WHP can be the beginnings of a cultural shift for victims of sexual violence in Tanzania.

K2 Adventures and The White Hat Project are teaming with NSK Hospital in Arusha to bring this initiative. NSK Hospitals has donated the land within their secure hospital to build a 20-bed respite facility.

The K2 White Hat Project will be the first live-in home for pregnant females providing life-changing support during their pregnancy and providing pre-natal and post-natal care for their unborn child. The WHP will give these young women a place to recover during their pregnancy as well as prepare them to successfully re-enter Tanzanian society. In addition, the mothers will receive emotional, physical, and economical support with a vision toward independence and lifelong success.

Summit Happy Home

K2 Adventures Foundation supports a local orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania called Summit Happy Home to provide displaced and orphaned children with a safe environment, proper accommodations, essential medical care, and much-needed food and clothing. The orphanage was launched in 2019 with six children ranging in age from two to eight years old. Currently, there are ten children living on the property with five caregivers and staff. They believe in the inseparable bonds of families, which is why they make sure that siblings are kept together at the orphanage.

The goal of Summit Happy Home is to provide the children with everything they need to grow and thrive. The children are not up for adoption but are instead provided a stable living situation and a proper education giving them the tools needed to stand on their own when they grow up and, one day, leave Summit Happy Home.

Want to sign up for a future trek up Kilimanjaro with Michelle Fain or simply interested in learning more? Send an email to

Learn who else is making a difference in the quad cities with more stories from Community Connections on Signals A!

Vince Moser

The Community Connections category is made possible by Vince Moser Farmers Insurance of Prescott, Valley, AZ. Thank you, Vince!

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