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Entries from Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team’s First Day of Safari

Safari time!

Today was the first day of safari for us and we headed east to visit the beautiful Lake Manyara, which is know for its tree climbing lions, pink flamingos, and abundant species of birds. Unfortunately we missed those famous lions, but everyone enjoyed the day cruising around in our safari vehicles.
It’s pretty hot here in Africa, so I’m sure that kept many of the animals hiding in the shade. However we did manage to see a few wildebeest, zebras, Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippos, baboons, impalas and many birds. It was a pretty nice introduction to the incredible wildlife diversity that Africa has and the team is looking forward to seeing more tomorrow.

We finished the day spending a few hours relaxing and exploring the grounds of our amazing lodge. Check it out for yourself. www.plantation-lodge.com

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Safari crew

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Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Bid Farewell to Their Amazing Mountain Crew

Yesterday we had a wonderful albeit long day climbing to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
The team woke at the enjoyable hour of 11:30 to thankfully clear skies after a very cloudy evening that had us wondering what lay ahead.  We had a quick midnight breakfast of porridge, tea and coffee before hitting the trail at 12:30.
We climbed in hour increments with 10-15 breaks in between, which we’ve been doing every day thus far. The weather was very calm allowing us to take our time and not feel too cold which we were very thankful for. The climb took about 7 1/2 hours to reach the top, and thankfully the sun had risen shortly before reaching the top to help warm us and boost morale after climbing through the night. Once there, we hugged each other, enjoyed the view and took plenty of pictures while we waited in line to get our photos of the sign that adorns the summit.

It was a true test of endurance for most of the crew, and I’m really proud of everyone. We descended back to high camp, had a quick lunch, repacked and continued further down the mountain to our final camp on the mountain, where we had dinner and then headed to bed for some well deserved sleep.
Today we woke at 7:00 feeling good, had breakfast, then enjoyed a goodbye song and dance from our gracious crew of porters, cooks, and local guides numbering 50. We finished the little celebration by handing out their well deserved tips and then hit the trail one last time.
It took a little over three hours to reach the park gate where the team had lunch then hopped aboard our awaiting bus for the ride back to the lodge.

Finally we are all safe and sound, and a little cleaner after an amazing seven-day journey up and down Kilimanjaro.
The team is currently relaxing and looking forward to Safari which starts tomorrow!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy Kilimanjaro crew

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Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Hi everybody. Casey Grom checking in from the Kilimanjaro expedition. Just wanted to let you know that everything’s going great today. We finally woke to a clear sky and we’re able to hike almost all day in full sunshine, which was a real treat considering all the clouds and rains and sprinkles that we’ve had this whole week. Everybody’s in great spirits right now. We left our Karanga Camp, which is about 13,000 feet, and slowly made our way up hill up on to a ridge line where our high camp is. It’s called Barafu, and it sits about 15,000 feet. Everybody did fantastic today. They are doing well up here at the new altitude. We just had another amazing meal provided by our cook, Tosha. He’s been taking great care of us. We just had our little summit talk when we went over the game plan for tonight. What time we’re leaving and what to wear, what to bring, all that good stuff. If the weather continues like it is, the game plan is to get up around 11:30, have something to eat, and then start walking about 12:30 tonight. It should take us somewhere between about six and eight hours to reach the summit. If all goes according to plan, I’ve got a SAT phone that I’ve been checking in on and I’m going to do my best to let all the team members give a call home. If you’re following the blog sometime around 7 a.m. Tanzanian time, that’s anywhere from about eight to eleven hour difference ahead of the U.S.,  we’re going to give you a call. If you see a strange number on your phone, realize it may be us calling to say hello from the summit of Kilimanjaro. Anyway, that’s all for now. Wish us luck. We’re going to head to bed and try to get a couple hours of sleep before we we take off. Thanks.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Kilimanjaro's High Camp.

On The Map

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Jay and Mary…hope you guys are having a climb of a lifetime!  Have fun and be safe!

Posted by: Swayts on 1/14/2018 at 5:08 pm

This might be a little late but at the summit,  reach for the stars and shake Grandpa’s hand. He would be so proud of you just as all of us are.  Again be safe there’s lots of love back home.

Love mom.

Posted by: Caralee (Alex’s mom) on 1/14/2018 at 10:50 am

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Conquer the Barranco Wall

Hello, everybody. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Kilimanjaro Expedition. It is day four and finally we woke to a little bit of nice weather. There was a little bit of sunshine and some broken clouds. Before the clouds came back in, we finished our little camp luckily without having to wear Gore-tex today. That was super exciting for everybody. Today our first obstacle, which was the technical crux of this whole climb is the Barranco Wall and it was only about 20 minutes outside of camp where we start the ascent up the 1,000-foot rock wall. Luckily for us and everybody else, it is a nice broken pitch system that meanders and weaves it’s way up this wall. It’s still trekking but in a few places where we got to use our hands and baby steps through the trail. Today is a reasonably short day, only about four hours on the trail before we pulled into camp, which was once again fully set up and waiting on us. So we’re being spoiled here by our staff and and taken well care of. Currently the sky has cleared and I am looking up and seeing stars in all directions, so fingers crossed that it will stay this way and we have full sun tomorrow. On another note, we got to celebrate one of our team member’s birthdays up here. Happy birthday Scott! Everybody’s in good spirits and looking forward to moving up to high camp tomorrow. That’s all for tonight, and I will check in again tomorrow when we reach our high camp. Thanks a lot.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro.

On The Map

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Comments from your Team at WhispeKool:

Christian Bromme: Thanks for the updates!

Amy Marquez: Awesome! Looks beautiful over there!

Derek Faul: That’s awesome, what an experience!

Cindi Bent: Wow what a fantastic opportunity, I bet the scenery is breathtaking!

Posted by: Lisa Leyva on 1/12/2018 at 11:15 am

Hey Tom, G, Alex, & Justin,
I been thinking about how amazing this trip must be for you all, I hope you are meditating and focusing on what your next journey will be. I am sending my love and pray for your safe return.
We cant wait to see you all soon! keep each other safe.

Love you all and sending a virtual hug!
Yours truly
Lisa Leyva aka “Mrs. Mialto” (Alex) hehe!

Posted by: Lisa Leyva on 1/12/2018 at 10:46 am

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Trek in the Rain

Hey, Everybody! Casey Grom checking in again here on day 3 Kilimanjaro. Well, today was very similar to yesterday we started off and mostly clear skies we got about two 2 1/2 hours up the trail before the rains came back in. Luckily today’s rains were bit shorter than yesterday’s. We we’re able to get all of our Gore-Tex on and umbrellas out and expedite our selves here to camp, which was pretty necessary considering all our stuff was already a little bit damp. Things are going pretty well. I’m sitting in my tent right now, I’m not sure if you can hear the rain coming down? It’s still raining hard. Our crew has been fantastic, the porters that is. They have been able to get on the trail ahead of us, and get to our camp by the time we get there, and we’ve been able to have everything already set up and ready for us to dive into and get out of the rain! So a little bit like yesterday and we are hoping tomorrow will be dry. They are taking great care of it here, and we’re all doing well. We’re just a little tired of the rain right now, but we’re going to take a little break, we’re going to have some soup to warm ourselves up. It sounds like we’re going to have a little cribbage tournament here in a little bit.

That’s all for now.
RMI Guide Casey Grom & Team

Casey Grom Calling in from Shira Plateau on Kilimanjaro

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Wow! We looked at the blog for day 4!  It does look like you will be at the top of the world.  All is going Aok & no one is sick.  We are having exceptional warm weather in the valley. Sumit or Bust! Ken, Kathy & Ayla.

Posted by: Ken and Kathy on 1/13/2018 at 6:27 am

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Meet in Tanzania

Hello Everyone.
This is Casey Grom checking in on RMI’s 2018 Kilimanjaro Climb.
All is well here in Tanzania as most of the team arrived late last night after some very long flights. It was a short and uneventful ride to our Lodge that is tucked in between Arusha and Moshi and not so far from the base of Kilimanjaro. The team had a quick but wonderful dinner and headed for bed as the time change has us all feeling just a little off.
We had a leisurely morning and had our first official meeting at 10:00 where we did a round of introductions and then discussed the program for the coming days ahead.
We spent the remainder of the day getting our gear packed up, exploring the grounds of our Lodge, which is incredibly peaceful and has monkeys and Dik Dik running around.
We wrapped up the evening with another delicious meal and plenty of friendly conversations.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

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All is Aok @ the retirement day care academy

Posted by: Ken and Kathy Masck on 1/14/2018 at 6:43 pm

All is Aok @ the retirement day care academy

Posted by: Ken and Kathy Masck on 1/14/2018 at 6:43 pm

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Finish Safari and Depart for Home

Well we didn’t beat yesterday for game-viewing, but nobody seemed to mind giving it a try today.  It was great to wake up in Tarangire National Park and get started in the cool of the day with the place to ourselves.  We went down to the edge of a gigantic marsh (a mostly dry marsh at the moment -the rains will come soon) and cruised for cats.  We did see a gigantic lioness hanging out peacefully in the branches of a tree -guarding here recent kill, but not much other action.  Just animals and herds sprinkled about as far as the eye could see.  At midday we left the park and headed toward Arusha, stopping at the cultural center for some culture and keepsakes.  Back at Arumeru River Lodge by three, we thanked Juma and Edson and told them we’d see them on our next Safari.  Then it was time for repacking and gearing up for international flight.  One more great team dinner and we boarded the bus, saying goodbye to the hotel staff and to several of our team who have different flight schedules.  Back now to lines and security and insecurity and schedules… but we’ll have the morning out in a beautiful place to sustain us.  It has been a wonderful adventure, thank you for keeping track of us. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team in Awe at Tarangire National Park

Tarangire delivers!  Hard not to finish this day by pronouncing ourselves lucky in the extreme.  We saw things today… and then we saw more things… and more and more things.  At first, we just did a little touristing when we left the Plantation Lodge, hitting a souvenir/art shop and then visiting a Maasai Village.  This definitely interested us and is not to be minimized, but then we got into Tarangire National Park and began being mesmerized and amazed.  Things built up slowly.  First there was the watering hole with a flood of zebra and wildebeest charging in for a drink.  Then there were the dozens upon dozens of elephants we watched digging for water.  (The proclamation was made -prematurely- that it was the day of the elephant) then there was a landscape where every single tree had a giraffe, eland, waterbuck, impala or warthog under it… for miles.  But then there were the cheetahs.  Mom and cub, majestic and regal in their fur coats.  And then there were the lions.  At first there were a handful from a distance… then more of them, walking away.  Then a meeting of male and females and cubs in the distance.  Then we investigated to find thirteen cats of all sizes going to work on a freshly killed zebra.  The sights and sounds were stunning.  Better than any TV documentary.  Our cameras kept clicking and clicking as the sunlight got golden.  But we’d each put the electronics down to just stare in awe as well.
A short time later, we were sipping pre-dinner cocktails at beautiful Balloon Camp when our driver/naturalists walked in.  Juma and Edson got spontaneous and sustained round of applause. 
The day couldn’t be topped… but it could be savored.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team See an Abundance of Animals at Ngorongoro Crater

We were up early for this big day of the Safari, leaving our comfy hotel at 7 AM to get over to Ngorongoro Crater.  Our Landcruisers clawed their way up the rough dirt road to the crater rim and then we bounced our way around the circle until another dirt track took us down into the collapsed caldera.  Right off, we began seeing wildlife in great numbers and in close proximity.  Before long we were quite used to ostriches and great herds of wildebeest and Cape Buffalo.  We saw a pack of perhaps 20 hyena, barking eerily and crunching the bones of some freshly departed big animal.  We got way closer than we ever imagined was possible to a couple of lionesses and a big male who decided the road would do just fine for napping.  We saw (and got a whiff of) several dozen hippos, wallowing in various ponds.  There were secretary birds and kori bustards, fish eagles and vultures.  Gazelles and zebra were everywhere.  We didn’t manage to spot rhinos, but we did see a few great bull elephants.  The day was fairly hot and sunny until a system of thunderstorms rolled by, cooling things for our afternoon tour.  Then Edson and Juma skillfully brought the cruisers back down the rough roads to our hotel for a relaxing evening at the Plantation Lodge.  Suffice to say that we were blown away by our day inside a volcano.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Switch from Trail to Bush

We switched gears today… waking up -not to hiking/climbing- but to a day of being entertained and educated in the back of a Safari vehicle.  We piled into two modified Toyota Land Cruisers just after 8 AM and left Usa River heading west.  First there was the hustle and bustle of traffic on the outskirts of Arusha.  The city has nearly 2 million inhabitants, so our guide/drivers: Juma and Edson had their work cut out for them getting us out to the wide open countryside beyond the city.  We cruised dusty roads between herds of Maasai tended cattle as we made our way out to Lake Manyara.  This National Park purports to be the home of the tree climbing lions… who weren’t actually home today.  We didn’t see lions, but we saw baboons, blue monkeys, hippos, Cape buffalo, zebras and wildebeest.  The elephants we got to see munching on trees were a highlight, as were about a thousand new species of bird, each accurately identified and described by our amazing guides.  At the end of a fine day out in the bush, we headed for the Plantation Lodge and an evening of relaxation and dinner conversation in an extremely comfortable setting. 
Tomorrow we’ll get up early to see what we can see in Ngorongoro Crater. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Dad you are amazing-shane Fountaine

Posted by: Shane Fountaine on 9/26/2017 at 4:51 pm

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