Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Begin their Climb
Greetings from 10,000 ft on the flanks of Kilimanjaro. My team hasn’t actually seen Mt Kilimanjaro yet, they are taking it on faith that there is a big volcano hidden somewhere in the clouds. From the Arumeru River Lodge at 7 AM breakfast, there was no sign of the mountain and we didn’t get even a hint of a sighting during our 1.5 hour drive to the Machame Gate of the National Park. Along the highway and under the clouds, there was plenty to see. We watched Tanzanian kids going off to school and their parents heading off to work. We saw people laboring in corn fields and vegetable gardens. We watched plenty of buses and taxis stopping to let folks on or off. As the road steepened closer to the mountain, people were tending to banana groves and coffee plants. The park gate itself was a busy place as trucks and buses unloaded and porters were issued loads and signed up for their week of hard work. We got signed in with the National Park and were issued our permit. At 10:20 AM it was finally -after months of planning and training and after days of travel, packing and prepping- time to start walking. Our local guide staff, Naiman as leader, Freddy and Philibet, Jorome and Gamma led us up a road into the big trees. The road became a trail after 30 minutes and the trail eventually started going uphill steadily. It was all made slightly easier by the cloud cover keeping the sun off of us. In fact it was a perfect temperature for walking. We came up 4000 vertical feet in five hours, which included a few lunch/rest breaks. In the process we got out of the big, lush forest and into the “giant heather” of the Moorland vegetation zone. The team took it all in stride -so to speak- and we pulled into Machame Camp close to 3:30. We were pleased and surprised to see the fine camp our staff had already built while we hiked. Our sleeping tents were ready for us to move into and a snack and hot drinks were waiting for us in the dining tent. There was time for a welcome rest between tea and our 6:30 dinner. Chef Tosha came into the tent as darkness fell and dinner was served to greet the team and introduce his assistant cooks and wait staff. We were amazed and pleased to have such a fine meal halfway up a mountain… assuming again that we really are on a mountain. Maybe we’ll see it tomorrow.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
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August 20, 2019
August 20, 2019