RMI Expeditions Blog
Our Safari and Kilimanjaro adventure came to an end today. But not with a whimper… it went out like a lion. And coincidentally with lions, as it turned out. We were up for an early start with great help from the friendly staff at Balloon Camp. Setting off in our Landcruisers, we hadn’t gone more than a few hundred feet before seeing fresh tracks from lions and elephants in the dirt road. When we got to the actual wildlife: Cape buffalo, (barking) zebras, wildebeest, hartebeest, eland… we were interested to see that their behavior was markedly different in early morning than what we’d seen during midday. Our excellent naturalist/drivers Edson Kahangi and Juma Msangi explained that all the critters had been up in the hills hiding from predators in the night but were now a little desperate and nervous to get down to the watering holes and streams again. We eventually saw why… the predators were well represented down there. We saw a big mom cheetah and a cub having fun with each other and making a game of chasing Impalas. We saw a big burly male lion striding proudly over for a drink while all other animals sprinted away. We saw a lioness and her two cubs up in a tree for a snooze… nearby, a hundred vultures were cleaning up whatever the lions had breakfasted on. And then it was time for us to flee all the predators too. We had to get on the highway again, back toward Arusha. We made a final stop at the cultural center to make a few more purchases (Maasai blankets were a big hit) and peruse the great art museum, then it was on to the Arumeru River Lodge. We showered and repacked and had one last team dinner before most of the gang headed for the airport and ultimately home. We seem destined for reunions and future trips together… reliving the wild time we had way out in Tanzania. We made a pretty good team. Thanks for following along.
I’m going to snooze for a day and then start it all up again with another group. Our last Kilimanjaro climb of the season.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
For Dave Hahn;
I cannot tell you how much we appreciate reading your daily blog. It’s the next best thing to being right there with you.You look like you had the benefit of a fabulous support team. I’m sure that our daughter Naomi will have plenty more to relate when she gets home. Right now she is in Amsterdam for a few days respite. Get some rest! Thanks again.
Howard & Gene Katz
Posted by: Howard Katz on 9/15/2017 at 3:24 pm
Blessings on all of you as you depart home. Dave, thanks for the updates and for taking good care of our loved ones. Nao, have fun on the rest of your journey. Can’t wait to see you. Hugs
Posted by: Claudia on 9/15/2017 at 1:24 pm
We began the day with a “so long” to Cory, who headed off -as planned- to compete in a marathon down in Capetown. Then we set out from the delightful Plantation Lodge for our next Safari destination: Tarangire National Park. Along the way, we toured a traditional Maasai village, watching tribe members dance and build fire and asking a lot of questions along the way about how the Maasai are able to hang on to their traditional ways in a modern world. We entered Tarangire just after noon and within just a few minutes were seeing Impala, Zebra, and Wildebeest in numbers difficult to keep track of. We saw great elephants and giraffes in the immense park and a few lions here and there, but for certain the highlights came close to the end of the day when we saw seven lion cubs playing and napping together while their mom/babysitter lounged nearby. And that prepared us for the final sighting -a leopard napping in a tree with a freshly killed Impala stored in the crook of the same tree. He/she didn’t pay much attention to us, but we payed plenty of attention to such a beautiful and formidable animal. A few short minutes later we drove into Balloon Camp, our safari hotel. Tonight we are back in tents, but more correctly they are tent-cabins and quite comfortable ones at that. The staff put on a fine barbecue for our team, out under the stars near the swimming pool. While dining, we could still hear nearby elephants trumpeting. Just one more day to go, hard to imagine though that it will surpass today.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
September 14, 2017
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir Team led by RMI Guides Elias deAndres Martos and Christina Dale reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today! Elias reported great climbing with clear skies, and cool fall temperatures. The team has spent their week on the mountain learning alpine mountaineering skills. They will finish out their week of training before descending tomorrow afternoon.
Congratulations to today’s Team!
Nice work!!! What an amazing photo!
Posted by: Amy Sherman on 9/15/2017 at 9:13 am
I wish the team would acknowledge all the hard working guides.
Posted by: Michelle W on 9/14/2017 at 9:31 pm
We drove up into clouds and fog along the rim of the Ngorongoro caldera. It was jacket weather, but that didn’t prevent us from popping the tops on our Toyota Landcruisers and going down in to the Crater to see some wildlife. Immediately, we were right up close to cape buffalo, zebras and wildebeest. We saw ostriches and kori bustards by the dozens. As we cruised the network of dirt roads, we began to see lions. We stopped to watch a pregnant female take a drink, and to see a big proud male searching for the perfect shady tree to lounge under. We saw hippos doing what they are known for doing at midday (darn little) and we watched animals by the hundreds interacting at waterholes. By our picnic lunch site, we spied a couple of giant, solitary bull elephants roaming the marshland. By midday, much of the clouds had burned off and we could see the entire layout of the giant volcanic remnant we were exploring. We eventually climbed back out the steep crater walls as the afternoon progressed and left the wildlife behind. A few rough roads and then the smoothest of highways took us back to our fine lodge for a restful finish to the day.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
You guys all look great. Can’t wait to see photos of the Safari.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.
Miss you, Nao.
Posted by: Claudia on 9/13/2017 at 8:17 pm
September 13, 2017
Posted by: Steve Gately
Our Mt. Shuksan team checked in with us last night. They were at camp eating dinner and all is well. The team will train today and start their alpine start to the summit in the early morning.
Here are some photos of the view from their camp.
Packing for Safari is far easier than packing for a climb. Getting up and getting on the road from our hotel was a low stress enterprise… we headed west at 8:30, squeezing between Arusha and Mt. Meru. Most of our 3 hour drive was through fairly dry and dusty cattle habitat. As we neared Lake Manyara National Park, the change in climate was dramatic, with water easy to find and lush vegetation everywhere. Animals like that sort of thing, as we discovered. Immediately within the park we saw baboons and monkeys aplenty. Before long we’d graduated to elephants -up close and personal, so that one could hear their big ears swishing back and forth in the air. Manyara is known for harboring tree-climbing lions, but when we got to see the king of the jungle, he was lounging and in no mood for trees. There were hippos and thousands of exotic birds enjoying the shoreline and bordering marshes of the Great Lake. Toward the end of the afternoon we encountered warthogs among the zebra and cape buffaloes. Lake Manyara was a fine primer for tuning up our game sighting reflexes. From the park exit, it just took 40 minutes to drive out of the great rift and into the highlands, where we found the beautiful and luxurious plantation lodge. We unwound and refueled in immaculately clean and comfortable buildings set in a lush garden. We’ll strike out bright and early tomorrow for Ngorongoro Crater.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Curt, I can only imagine the photographs you will get on this leg of the trip. Don’t hold back!
Posted by: Judy Gadlage on 9/13/2017 at 6:03 am
Jambo from the Arumeru River Lodge. Our last night on the mountain was just what the doctor ordered. Good sleep and plenty of it -at a reasonable altitude. We woke to clear skies and ate breakfast in a forest of giant heather. Afterward, our entire mountain staff regaled us with singing, impressed us with dancing and caught us up in their laughter. We thanked them for their friendship and hard work, shook hands and hit the trail. We descended 4,000 feet down a sometimes slippery trail through the forest. The weather stayed fine and dry, which is not always the case in a rain forest, obviously, but luck was with us (yet again). By midday we’d reached the Mweka Gate and we exited the National Park. Our staff treated us to one final excellent “picnic” lunch before we hit the Tanzanian highways back to Usa River and our lodge. After a week in the mountains, a few of our team expressed the need for showers and so we delayed our celebration dinner to accommodate cleanliness. With a little repacking, reorganizing and relaxing, we’re now poised and ready for safari.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Way to go Nomes, and team!!!!
Wrigley says, “my mom is a rockstar!”
Have a blast on the safari!
Posted by: Kelly on 9/12/2017 at 7:18 am
Naomi and team: CONGRATULATIONS!! So happy for and proud of you! Can’t wait to hear the nitty gritty stories of your amazing feat.
Posted by: Eve Ruff on 9/11/2017 at 7:54 pm
September 11, 2017
The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Brent Okita and Solveig Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Rainier and are now on the descent. Brent reported clear and beautiful skies with winds of about 25 mph.
Congratulations today’s team!
This is Mike checking for the last time. The Team finished the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu today and we’re fortunate to see the sunrise over the Citadel from the Sun Gate.
It is always a bit of a culture shock when you have spent 5 days hiking in the remoteness of the Andes and arrive at Machu Picchu where some 3000 people visit each day. Today was a light traffic day and we enjoyed a 2 hour tour of the highlights. The scale and shear amount of earth moved leaves people speechless.
The Team is currently at the hotel and enjoying some rest after a hot shower. They will have tomorrow morning to visit the site before we catch our train back to Cusco via the Urambamba River valley and high plateaus. Our trip will culminate with 1 last day seeing some more Incan sites around Cusco. Thanks for following along and RMI’s next Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is July 2018, come join us!
Sign Up For Peru 2017 Emails
September 10, 2017
Posted by: Dave Hahn
Hey! Dave Hahn & Team calling from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro! We are at Uhuru 19,340’. We got up here at 6:49 in the morning, nine of our ten climbers. Everybody is doing really well, everybody is happy and healthy. It is an absolutely beautiful morning. It is way clear above us, and it’s way clear down below to about 4,000’ and then there’s a sea of clouds below us. It is a really great day up here. We’re going to do a dispatch when we are back to our camps to let you know we are all safe. Bye now!
Sunday, September 10th 10:57am PST
Greetings from Mweka Camp, down at 10,000 ft, down in the forest, down from the summit of Kilimanjaro.
We got walking out of high camp at just after midnight on a perfect night for climbing. It was clear, calm, moonlit and sparkling with stars. As expected, things got progressively colder as we got farther up the hill and into the night/morning. We kept adding clothing and tried our best to keep moving. Eventually, a good chunk of the team had “everything” on and the sun was still hours away. We might have stressed over the cold, but the altitude was kicking in with new stresses with every step higher. The entire team surpassed previous personal altitude records today, so it was very much a voyage of discovery. We hit Stella Point on the crater rim just before 6 AM and caught a magnificent sunrise when we were part way to Uhuru -the true summit. We tagged the top at 6:45, spent a glorious 30 minutes up there… surprised to be in perfectly comfortable temps already. The descent to Barafu took three hours, and we commenced our further descent to Mweka at 12:15, reaching this delightfully low camp at 3:45. All are safe.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
RMI Guide Dave Hahn calling in from summit of Kilimanjaro.
Curt, Syd and Carol, Congratulations! What an accomplishment! Cannot wait to hear the stories! Travel down safe, and revel in your amazing journey…
Posted by: Judy Gadlage on 9/11/2017 at 6:05 am
Congratulations to the entire team! What an awesome accomplishment! Curt, I shared your journey with your classmates from RBHS at last night’s reunion. We’re all incredibly proud of you!
Posted by: Marilyn Blunier Ott on 9/10/2017 at 10:04 pm