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Entries from Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro: Tucker and Team Wrap Up Their Time in Tanzania

Sipping tea on the porch of our luxury tents, watching the bush wake up around Tarangire National Park is pretty darn peaceful. Before heading back to the Dik Dik Lodge, we spent some more time game viewing in the park. If you’ve never been to Tarangire, some day try and get there; you won’t be disappointed! After our game drive, we made a quick stop in town for a few last minute gifts, some might even have your name on them! Back at the Dik Dik, we had one last fine meal before saying our good byes. The next stop for the team is Kilimanjaro International Airport to begin flights home. This trip has been filled with great experiences that have created memories to last a lifetime. I’m going to miss everyone…until our next trip together!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Thank you, Mark, for taking care of our loved ones on what I know was an awesome experience.  It was so great to have your blog so we could keep up with you all on the trip.

Posted by: Odette Hankins on 7/22/2016 at 11:39 am

Kilimanjaro: Tucker and Team Tour Tarangire National Park

Right now I’m watching a gigantic, large tusked elephant tearing apart an acacia tree just a few feet away from the porch of my stilted tent platform in the full moon light. Funny how a creature that large could literally sneak up on our digs for the night here at Kikoti camp, just outside Tarangire National Park. It has been another perfect weather day with just enough clouds and breeze to keep the bush land from being too hot. After an hour of driving we stopped for a tour of a Masai Boma. It’s very interesting and always amazing to see the hearty souls living in the traditional style. Another hour put us in the park where we enjoyed just amazing landscape and crazy plant life. If that wasn’t enough throw a couple thousand animals in the mix. We ended the day with a most flavorful bounty back at camp. Tomorrow we have another half day on safari in Tarangire as we make our way back to the Dik Dik.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker & Team

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Explore the Ngorongoro Crater

From huge elephants to tiny chameleons, the Ngorongoro Crater was a game viewers paradise. We kept to the timeline and made our way to the crater nice and early. So did a bunch of other folk, it was all good, spending time at the visitors center enjoying exhibits and baboons around the truck made waiting for the permitting process to enter the park easy. Happy to do anything to help keep this amazing place well managed. We descended a couple thousand feet into the crater to brisk but clear weather. Herds of zebra, gazelle, wildebeest, cape buffalo, to name a few, were in all directions. Some big game spotting of lions, huge elephants and a couple of rhinos made great additions to our camera rolls. Another delicious lunch in the bush by the hippo pool rounded out the day nicely. We are now back at the Plantation Lodge being pampered one last night. We move on to our final park tomorrow. 

Bye for now,
RMI Guide Mark Tucker

It all sounds amazing and thrilling.  I can’t wait to see all the pictures.

Odette, Taylor’s mom

Posted by: Odette Hankins on 7/20/2016 at 1:48 pm

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team’s First Safari Stop - Lake Manyara

Early up again. Why not, it’s vacation. Your going to get home exhausted from the travel halfway around the world, so give it your all while here. We traveled a few hours from the Dik Dik Lodge to Lake Manyara, located in the Great Rift Valley. The first of three national parks we will visit on our safari. The introduction to our new challenge, sitting instead of hiking was well received. Nice four-wheeled Landcruisers carried us from one group of animals to the next. Hundreds of creatures near and far, above and below, right and left, fascinated the whole team with little interruption. We are now at the Plantation Lodge being very well taken care of in luxurious surroundings. We have positioned ourselves just outside our next park, Ngorongoro Crater, the eighth wonder of the world. Up early again. Why not, it’s vacation!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Kilimanjaro: Tucker and team Celebrate Success!

The whole team received an A+ for their homework. They aced the final exam and summer vacation starts tomorrow. What a treat for us as guides when a team takes training serious prior to a climb. A very diverse group when it comes to experience and age. The fact that they all came to the class in the best shape possible puts the chances for a safe summit much more reasonable. What you learn up high is a very unique skill set. The physical and mental demands you are faced with and have to deal with can change your perspective on many facets of our everyday lives down in the low lands. To subject you self to a lack of usual creature comforts by your own submission takes a different sort of duck. I Am very proud of my Tucklings.

A nice send off from our local staff at the Meweka Camp, what a great local crew we had the pleasure to share the mountain with. Three hour descent thru the cloud forest ,get that ,it was cloudy and cool, go figure! A few final pictures at the Kilimanjaro exit sign gate, and then all aboard for the two hour transfer to the Dik Dik lodge for the night. Cleaned up and fired up for the banquet ahead. We will probably cut a swath through our lodge that may take awhile to heal. That’s just what the thick air can do to you.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker and Team

Enjoy the safari!  Again, take lots of pictures!!!!


Posted by: Odette Hankins on 7/18/2016 at 12:10 pm

CONGRATS TO TAYLOR AND THE WHOLE TEAM. So glad that you made it up safely.  Looks like an amazing experience was had by all.  (Taylor, now all you need to do is not getting eaten by any wildlife.  I am gonna win that bet with Andrew….I know it.) Enjoy the rest of your trip!


Posted by: Sean Free on 7/18/2016 at 10:23 am

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Descend to Mweka Camp

Early up, early down. You would be amazed at what you can accomplish before noon when you have a strong team. We’re all together here at our 10,000ft Camp Mweka. A tired crew for sure but that can’t hide the glow on their sunscreen faces. A bit breezy and temps in the teens couldn’t keep the whole boat from dropping anchor on the summit. Altitude records for all but that is so over shadowed by the bond between climbing partners I witnessed this fine day. The compassion exhibited to one another during this physical and mental challenge to people that you just met gives you hope for all mankind. The support, friendliness and caring by our local outfitter, the Dik Dik Lodge, solidifies its world wide. Up early, a few hours down hill, then it’s lodge time!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

It was so nice to read about the bond that has formed among the group.  Not only will this trip create amazing memories for you, but you all have formed friendships that will last a lifetime.  Congratulations!

Odette, Taylor’s mom

Posted by: Odette Hankins on 7/17/2016 at 6:44 pm

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Summit!

Hey, down there! I have a whole bunch of people on the summit of Kilimanjaro! Beautiful conditions. The team is fantastic. Had a blast; wish you were there. We’re going to go ahead and start making our way the other direction. Port of call: Mweka Camp tonight. Thanks for checking in. We’ll be talking later.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

RMI Guide Mark Tucker calls in from the Kilimanjaro summit!

On The Map

You did it!  Congratulations to the whole team!!  Sending my love to Taylor from down here in Cleveland.  We love you!!!


Posted by: Odette Hankins on 7/17/2016 at 6:58 am

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Ascend to High Camp Ready for Summit Bid

A very nice cup of dark roast Tanzania coffee fresh out of my French press sits next to me as I write this blog. Big climbs like this,when given the option to have a few creature comforts, do wonders for the mental and physical. It has been another perfect weather day with a little breeze here at high camp, Barafu at 15000’. The team had yet another restful and healthy night making the challenge of 2,000 feet of elevation gain no problem, or as we hear about a hundred times a day “Hakuna matata”. If you can envision the 8 man varsity Harvard crew boat rowing for yet another crushing victory, that is pretty much what our team looks like. Perfect rest step in unison just like team strokes, a thing of beauty to watch. Only thing a bit funny is our coxswain (me) not weighing in at that perfect 119 to 123 lbs. The incredible meals that continue coming out of the kitchen tent assures me that the loss of any pounds is impossible. Resting, sorting, packing summit lunches are the duties for the day. Our wake up call at 11:30 pm is going to arrive soon and then the start of our summit push. The entire team is in great shape to safely give it a shot. We hope the next time we check in we will be on the summit of Kilimanjaro.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Ascend the Barranco Wall

Jambo -
This group of intrepid mountaineers made quick work of the infamous Barranco wall. Working together, climbing with style and grace and a bit of support from are great local staff our team ascended and thirty minutes later we reached the top of the wall with high fives and a good photo opportunity. We were then on our way to our new camp at over 13,000’ at Karanga Camp.  The weather conditions are perfect and thank goodness for kissing the Blarney Stone before the climb.
The whole team is in great shape and feeling strong, boots and equipment are performing well. We are hoping the weather continues to hold to give us the best chances to stand on top of Kilimanjaro!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map


Have a great climb!

Steve & Cheryl

Posted by: Steve Burtzel on 7/15/2016 at 2:08 pm

Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Crush Altitude Records to Reach Barranco Camp

Can you say cruise into camp? Why? Well, that’s just what the team did. After a clear and cool evening at Shira Camp, we woke up early to hit the trail and crush most of the teams altitude records! We kept a perfect pace (of course) and with impeccable technique by one and all we hardly noticed the thin air. We were able to get in some great views of Kilimanjaro’s main peak, dramatic ice fields, and the steep mountain flanks. A long descent into the Barranco Valley brought us to are next camp for the night. Barranco Camp is nestled among the crazy looking giant senecio trees. These trees have some resemblance to the Joshua tree. Looming above us are glaciers and huge ice runnels. Needless to say it is one heck of a beautiful spot. The weather is perfect, the team is great and we all wish you were here.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

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