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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Check in from Kikoti Camp

Hello from Kikoti Camp,

It was another amazing day on safari. We left the Plantation Lodge this morning and headed south to the last park we will visit on our safari, Tarangire National Park. En route, we stopped at a few curio shops to get gifts for our family and friends back home. Wood animal carvings, Maasai blankets, African masks, carved bowls, and few paintings will all make the journey home.

Once we got into the park, the game viewing was a little slow at first. Our luck certainly changed after lunch. Not only did we see a leopard, we also saw a female cheetah with three cubs, several big elephant herds, giraffes, warthogs, and even a unicorn. Actually it was Thompson Gazelle that lost a horn, but from a distance, it definitely looked like a unicorn.We have seen a lot of animals the last few days and covered a lot of beautiful miles. We are now at our last lodge, a luxury tented camp right on the edge of Tarangire. The views are incredible and the sounds around camp remind us that we really are out in the African bush.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and what a perfect spot for our last night in Tanzania. Tomorrow, we drive back to Arusha, pick up our climbing gear and head to the airport for our flights back home.
From literally the snows of Kilimanjaro to the African plains, this has been a hell of a trip. Thank you again to those who checked in daily to read our dispatches and to everyone who left the motivating comments while we were on the mountain.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Visit the Ngorongoro Crater

Hello from the Plantation Lodge,

The Ngorongoro Crater did not disappoint today. In fact, it was a five star day! We started off early so we could spend the whole day down in the Crater. The first sighting was a big bull elephant, followed by seeing 5 black rhinos, a pride of 7 lions, a lone male lion, many hippos including a hippo out if the water and three hippos that were 15’ away from us at our lunch spot. Hyenas, baby jackals, and Grant and Thompson Gazelles, plus all the other animals we saw yesterday, but in even greater numbers.

The grass in the Crater is really green because of the recent rains, and the animals were everywhere. After we were almost cross-eyed from looking at all the animals, we headed up to the rim of the crater and went to a Maasai Village. The Massai are a tribe of 70 different clans, totaling almost 55,000 people. They inhabit the land around Ngorongoro and to the north into Kenya. They are trying hard to live in their traditional ways but still exist in a modern world. This was our opportunity to see first hand how they are doing it.

It was definitely a very full day. Now we are back at the lodge, just finished dinner and making our plans for tomorrow. We’ll head south to Tarangire National Park for our final two days of safari. Still on the list of animals to see - a leopard.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Wow! Sounds like a fabulous day on safari.  It’s great to hear that all of the rain we witnessed has been so good for the Tanzanian flora and fauna. 
35 hours after leaving the Dik Dik I arrived home, safe and sound with all of my luggage in tow.  Dang the air is thick and heavy here at sea level!  I think about you guys all the time and I can’t wait to see your animal photos. 

Posted by: Sarah on 2/19/2014 at 10:17 pm

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Begin Their Safari at Lake Manyara National Park

Hello from the Plantation Lodge,

We had a great day today at Lake Manyara National Park. Located about two hours from Arusha, it is the first stop on our safari circuit. This is a hidden gem of a park as most people only drive right by it on the way to the bigger named parks. It is the perfect introduction to how to safari, getting us oriented to many of the different animal species and habitats, as well as figuring out how to get some really good pictures.
We had some excitement during our “bush” lunch when a troop of 60 baboons passed right by us, and three of the males caused quite a ruckus when they began fighting over one of the female baboons.
There were lots of elephants today, giraffes, monkeys, hippos, dik diks, warthogs, wildebeests, and ostriches. The list goes on and it was a very successful day.
We are now at the Plantation Lodge, a wonderful small lodge that sits on the highlands above the Great Rift Valley. It’s absolutely beautiful here and they have thought of every detail in making this one of the best lodges in the area.
Tomorrow we are off to Ngorongoro Crater, where we will see what most consider as the eighth wonder of the world.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Back at the Dik Dik to Celebrate their Success

Hello from the Dik Dik,

Our mountain adventure ended today with 10 very happy climbers. Even though we had a very long day yesterday, the team wanted to get an early start and hike down to the Mweka Gate. You could tell that everyone wanted showers as we made record time descending the 4,400’ to the end of the trail. You can feel it is the last day as porters are ready to get paid, and the climbers are still on the high of summiting yesterday. We had a big lunch spread waiting for us at the gate and then we tipped out our mountain crew for all their hard work over the last seven days.

Now we are back at the hotel and sitting down for drinks before our celebration dinner. We are all cleaned up and have packed away all our mountain gear.

Tomorrow we are heading out on our safari. The perfect way to recover from the physical effort expended to reach the top of Kilimanjaro. First stop is Lake Manyara!

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Wooo Hooo

Congrats you guys. Way to go.

xo Beck

Posted by: becky on 2/22/2014 at 12:06 pm

Holly and Chris, CONGRATS on the summit!!  Enjoy the Safari

Posted by: Adam on 2/18/2014 at 6:37 am

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Summit!

Hello from Mweka Camp,

We did it! The entire team made it to Uhuru Peak, the Roof of Africa, this morning at 7:30 am. But there were no gimmes today, we fought hard for every step. What started out as fairly decent weather when we woke up, quickly changed as we were about two hours into our climb. At first, it began snowing lightly, but the higher we climbed, the harder the snow fell. The trail was completely covered by the time we reached 18,000’. By Stella Point, the crater rim, it was blowing about 30 mph and 4-6 inches of snow had fallen. Definitely not your typical summit day. Despite the challenges of the weather, the team did great today.

We left camp at 12:50 am and were on top at 7:30 am. We only spent about 10 minutes at the summit sign, and then it was time to get back down. The fresh snow made for an interesting descent, and new snow had fallen all the way back to high camp.

After changing out of our summit gear, we re-packed our duffels and headed down to Mweka Camp, 5000’ below us. We arrived in camp just before 5:00 PM, and our 17-hour day is now over. We are all tried, but in great spirits and looking forward to a good night’s rest.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Way to go Boehms!

Posted by: Lindsay on 2/20/2014 at 9:48 am

When the road gets tough, the tough get going!  We bow to your efforts and successes! Enjoy the first of your celebrations and the rest of your journey!

Posted by: Rondi Saslow on 2/17/2014 at 9:00 am

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Hello from Barafu Camp,

We are at our high camp and ready for our summit attempt tomorrow! The team did great again today and everybody is excited to be here at 15,000’.
Today was a relatively short hiking day, climbing about 2,000’ in just under three hours and reaching camp before noon. This is another great benefit to the Machame Route. Having a short day right before summit day allows us plenty of time to rest, hydrate, pack and get to bed early all in preparation of tomorrow. We’ll have dinner at 5:00 and then hopefully be in bed by 6:30 at the latest. Most of us probably won’t sleep much, but our bodies will get enough rest we need for the long day ahead.
The alarm is set for 11:45 pm, and the plan is to be walking out of camp around 12:45. About seven hours later, we should be standing on top of Kilimanjaro. Wish us luck and we will try and give a call tomorrow from the summit.

Best regards,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sarah,.  .  .  this is a totally wonderful and thrilling achievement! Congratulations!
We can’t wait to hear all about it. Love Dad & Susan

Posted by: Richard on 2/16/2014 at 10:28 pm

Way to go! Good work, Sarah and team!  Thank-you for the blog, comments, etc.  Sarah, you have the genes!


Posted by: Rondi Saslow on 2/16/2014 at 9:00 am

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Send Valentine’s Day Wishes from Karanga Camp

Happy Valentine’s Day from Karanga Camp. The Barranco Wall is now well behind us and the group powered right up it without any issues. We decided to switch gears a little with our departure time today. We opted to let the other climbing groups leave before us so we could take our time climbing up the Barranco Wall. It was the right call for today. As a result of the later start, we got to sleep in this morning, not rush through breakfast, and all enjoyed a little extra time in camp. Starting out, the trail is pretty steep, and there are a few rock sections that require some basic scrambling, but once through this section, it is very straightforward walking. We took a quick break about an hour up, then we took another 30 minutes before we were standing on top, looking down at our old camp 900’ below. The clouds were blocking most of the views, but no one complained as we were very lucky to have only clouds and not rain. This would be our high point of the day, and then we continued traversing east towards Karanga Camp. Along the way, we met a group of climbers called Kilimanjaro Warriors. It is a group of ten climbers, six of which are disabled veterans. Seeing these climbers today was both humbling and truly inspiring. For anyone to make this climb is a big accomplishment, but to do it without one leg, or even both legs, is remarkable. We wish them the best of luck with their climb.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are a few wishes from Kilimanjaro:
Happy Valentine’s Day to my family, Tom and his family! Thank you for all the support. Sarah Sending love from Kili! Happy V-day J.W., family and friends. It’s more beautiful than I could have ever imagined - of course I’ve cried every day. Ha!Ha! Tracey Thanks everyone for all the comments. They really help. We are feeling strong and looking forward to summiting in 2 days. We’ll send our love from the top. xoxo. Have to go stretch now (Adam). Chris, Holly, & Eric.
Happy Valentine’s Day Mom & Dad! Thanks for the good genes! Sue Still breathing! Happy Valentine’s Day Meg! Don

Thanks again for all the comments. We will send an update from high camp tomorrow.

RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

We’re following your climb every evening, with fascination, excitement and joy. It looks like an outstanding route! You seem to be moving very smoothly and steadily! Our very best wishes and support to you all!

Posted by: Uncle-ing and Auntling on 2/14/2014 at 11:16 pm

Great job Holly, Sarah, Chris, & Eric!  Sending u lots of energy for the summit push and the downhill!

Posted by: Michelle on 2/14/2014 at 10:25 pm

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Reach Barranco Camp

Hello from Barranco Camp,

The team did great today, and everybody is feeling strong and healthy.

The unsettled weather continues for our third day on the mountain. Last night, the winds started to pick up after we arrived in camp and were still blowing when we woke up this morning. Fortunately, it was only winds today, as we stayed dry all day and the sun made a brief appearance when we got to camp.

We are definitely into our mountain routines, going to bed fairly early and waking up with enough time to pack, eat breakfast, and be walking by 8:00 am. That is exactly what happened this morning.  With packs on we started the climb up the Shira Plateau. We climbed directly towards the mountain for the entire morning, slowly leaving behind all plant life as we got close to Lava Tower camp. It was the first time most of this group had been to 14,900’ and everybody was grinning when we got to our high point. We had some lunch and took a little extra time to just let our bodies feel what it is like being at this altitude. Then we started our descent to Barranco camp, approximately 2000’ below us. This was the first downhill section of the trip so far, and since half of this climb is spent descending, you have to be able to walk downhill efficiently. This group can definitely walk downhill. A couple hours later we were pulling into camp. The highlight of the the day, besides climbing to 14,900’, was the last 15 minutes of walking before we reached camp. Giant Senecios line the trial on both sides and it such a unique plant, that you can’t help to feel that you might be on a different planet. Especially as the clouds roll by blocking out everything around you except for these very strange looking trees.
Once in camp, it was time to get moved into our tents and relax for the afternoon. We are now all accustomed to the snacking and tea drinking that pretty much begins right after we get to camp and ends right before dinner.

Tomorrow we head up the Barranco Wall. It’s hard to miss as it looms above us, but everyone is excited to be standing on top of it by mid-morning.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin & Team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Russ!  Great job with the climb!  And, Thanks for our lovely Valentines present!  The Yorkies are pushing you up that mountain with all 8 paws…from Sausalito, CA!  Attack that mountain!  We love you, Jody, Belle & Bliss!

Posted by: Jody Frederickson on 2/14/2014 at 7:11 am

Hey Sarah, We are enjoying the posts and look forward to hearing all. Happy Valentines Day. Love Pf

Posted by: Richard on 2/14/2014 at 2:33 am

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team Reach Shira Plateau

Hello from Shira Camp,

It rained a little last night, but when we woke up this morning, the sun was trying to shine through the cloud cover. While the sun never completely came out, we had a dry day with perfect temperatures. The weather even cooperated so that we could have a nice lunch stop along the way to our camp. We got out of camp early today in hopes of getting a little head start and be in front of the other climbers and porters. But we weren’t the only group trying this strategy, and we ended up having a fair amount of trail traffic getting up the first climb out of camp. It’s a narrow trail, so we just took our time and enjoyed the views around us. On the section after lunch, we got to see quite a few flowers starting to bloom, thanks to the recent rains. Usually this is a pretty dry portion of the trail as we traverse west towards the Shira Plateau, but today there were numerous little streams which were all flowing with water. The mountain above us is still covered in the dusting of snow from a few days ago. It is really beautiful and is giving us lots of great pictures.Today was a short day of hiking and we made it to camp with plenty of time to enjoy the Shira Plateau. Of course we had popcorn and other snacks waiting for us when we arrived. And we spent a big chunk of the afternoon snacking, drinking tea, and sharing some stories. A perfect reward for the 2500’ we climbed today.

Tomorrow, we are going to set a bunch of new altitude records when we go to 14,900’, at the base of Lava Tower. Stay tuned for our next dispatch from Barranco Camp.

Best regards,

RMI Guide Jeff Martin and Team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Holly and Chris,
Just wondering if some of the stories included the torture you endured under my watch…  kidding.  Enjoy the continued beauty of your climb, I am jealous!
Adam W

Posted by: Adam on 2/12/2014 at 10:03 pm

Hey Chris….we have an open shift this week - wanna fill it???  NO, I didn’t think so!!  Oh well, guess you’re stuck there having to enjoy the beauty, the challenge, and the awesome wife you have by your side!!  Can’t wait to hear all the stories and see the pics!!

Posted by: Candy on 2/12/2014 at 1:40 pm

Kilimanjaro: Martin & Team at the First Camp - Machame Camp

Greetings from Machame Camp,

The missing bag finally showed up last night and we have one very happy climber.  For the last few days the weather has been a little unstable, with some heavy rain showers in the lowlands. But this morning, just as we were approaching the mountain, the clouds started to thin and we saw Kilimanjaro for the first time. After people got over the initial surprise of how big it looks from a distance, it became obvious that the unstable weather we had in town, had covered the mountain with a white blanket of snow. Usually you have to look pretty hard to find snow on the mountain, so this was a pretty cool sight to see. It won’t affect our climb though, as most of it will melt before we reach high camp.

Having left our hotel this morning right on time, we were at the park gate before any of the other climbing groups showed up. We made quick work of taking care of the permits and registration.  And after the final porter’s bag was weighed, we were off and walking.

The weather continued to improve all day and we had perfect temperatures all the way to camp. We walked into camp at 3:30 and got settled into our new accommodations at 10,000’. Everyone did great today on the trail. This group showed up well prepared, and ready for the challenge ahead.

We’ll send out another update tomorrow when we get to Shira Camp.

RMI Guide Jeff Martin

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Mom, when you have to carry Eric up the mountain, its best to use the fireman’s carry. It will center his weight above you rather than behind you if he is on your back. I’m sure you guys are doing great! I love you all, good luck over the next couple days!

With very much love,

Posted by: Derek Kraft on 2/12/2014 at 6:59 pm

First day completed - WAHOO!!!  You all look great.  Enjoy each day and take lots of pictures.

Posted by: Candy on 2/11/2014 at 11:25 pm

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