Five Albany County men saw the most dramatic sunrise of their lives recently.
That's because they were standing near the top of Mount Kilimanjaro at the time.
To me, the best way to describe it is how you'd draw a picture of heaven, said Voorheesville resident Tom Markert. "It was astonishing."
"It was just unbelievable," added Delmar's Mark Bryant. "You felt like you were seeing the sun rise over Africa."
Forty-five minutes later, they and the rest of their 11-man climbing party were standing at the top of Africa. Some were overjoyed to reach the summit, while others were dazed by the climb.
"I'd like to tell you that I was overcome by emotion and savoring the moment, but I was more overcome by the altitude," said Markert. "I was actually stumbling."
The trip was partially a family affair. Markert was joined by his brother Paul and his cousin Jim, while Bryant had his brother Jeff along for the climb. Another portion of the climbing party was made up of two mutual friends of both families " Tom Fashouer of Guilderland and Mike Brennan of Voorheesville.
"The 11 guys all got along very well," said Bryant. "It was amazing that people from different places (across the United States) got along so well."
"Everybody was single-minded in getting to the top. Nobody wanted to be the one not to make it to the top," added Markert.
Bryant planted the seed for the trip three years ago when he started thinking about things he wanted to do as he sat in his office at Bryant Asset Management, which he and his brother Jeff run.
"I got up from my desk feeling chipper three years ago, and I walked into my brother's office and said, 'I want to do something before I turn 50 Let's climb Kilimanjaro,'" said Bryant.