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Entries By dave hahn

Goyko Trek: Hahn and Team Take Hike for their Rest Day

Technically, today was a rest day…

but we still got up early and went hiking.  It would have been hard not to get out of bed with a stunning sunrise lighting up Kwangde - the giant and jagged peak across the valley to our west.  We hiked up a steep hill (everything out of Namche is steep) to Syangboche and then traversed through yak pastures until we reached a tea house at 12,400 ft for our first views of Ama Dablam and Lhotse.  There were some clouds playing through the area that prevented our seeing Everest.  We sat outside, drank tea, and watched.  At one point we could see Everest’s South Summit, but the true summit never quite cleared for us.  We packed up and headed back down into Namche to rest and browse through the many shops for the afternoon. 

Tomorrow we’ll push a little higher in our move to Thame.

Best Regards


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Gokyo Trek: Hahn & Team on the trail to Namche Bazaar

It was a crystal clear and bright morning in Phakding.  We started walking at 8AM along the charging, frothing, roaring river.  Before long we could see Thamserku towering 10,000 feet above us.  The rock and ice was in stark contrast to the lush farmland we walked through.  A couple of hours in, we reached the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park.  The team ate an early lunch at a tea house in Jorsalle before getting on with the big work of the day -climbing the Namche Hill.  It began with a walk across a very high cable bridge and then we set ourselves to walking slow and steady up switchbacks in a thick pine forest.  Things clouded up -predictably- as the day went on. We gained 2000 feet and finally turned the corner into Namche Bazaar at around 2PM.  We were relieved to pull into Camp De Base. Calling it a tea house doesn’t really do the place justice as it has become a fine hotel by any standard.  We rested and rehydrated for the afternoon and evening, getting used to life at 11,300 ft. 

Best Regards

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Gokyo Trek: Hahn & Team fly to Lukla, Trek to Phakding

Things went a little smoother today.  Weather in Kathmandu was improved. There were still some clouds but no rain when we got to the airport at 6 AM.  In no time at all we were getting on board the AStar B3 helicopter bound for Lukla.  It was exciting and exhilarating to get up out of the Kathmandu Valley and to see the Himalayan peaks rising in a line to the North.  They were impossibly big and steep and beautiful with the first rays of the sun finding them.  We flew for about 45 minutes and caught a clear -but brief- glimpse of Mount Everest stabbing into the sky before we landed in the shadows down in Lukla. 

Our trek began with a good breakfast.  We set out walking at 9:30 and started downhill.  This part of the valley is all forest and farmland with a big violent river charging through the middle.  There was plenty to see as we followed our Sherpa guides, Dawa, Tenzing and Tsangdu.  Finally we crossed the river a little after noon and pulled into Phakding.  We lunched and then napped away the afternoon at 8600 ft of elevation.  By dinner time the tea house had filled with trekkers recounting their exciting first day on the trail. 

Best Regards

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Wendy!  I see you are back at it!  Good luck and have fun.

Posted by: Cory on 10/6/2023 at 4:54 am

Goyko Trek: Hahn & Team Remain In Kathmandu Due to Weather

Not so much to report today.  We were up early and off to the airport to begin our Gokyo trek.  But it was raining as we passed through the streets of Kathmandu.  It turned out that it was rainy and cloudy at our destination -Lukla- as well.  Our gear was loaded on the helicopter and everyone and everything was ready… except for the weather.  There were periods of clearing at either Kathmandu or Lukla, but never at both.  And ultimately, by 2 PM (we’d been at the airport since 6 AM) the weather was still bad at both ends and getting worse.  We called it quits for the day.  So we finished back at the comfortable -and increasingly familiar- Yak and Yeti hotel.  We’ll give it another try tomorrow. 

Best Regards

RMI Guides Dave Hahn

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Gokyo Trek: Hahn & Team Explore Kathmandu and Prepare for Trek

We began the day with a team meeting over breakfast.  The intention was to get everybody squared away on the details of preparing for our Gokyo trek.  But the coffee was good and plentiful, so our business meeting just turned into a story-telling session as caffeine levels rose.  At 10 AM we set out with Naraj for a tour of the city.  During the ride through busy streets, Naraj explained the mix of Hindu and Buddhist religions and the various ethnic groups making up Nepali Society. 

Our first stop was the Swayambhu Temple -known as the monkey temple for the great number of monkeys scaling the stupas and Buddha statues.  We  were lucky -on this partly cloudy day- to get great views of the city from the hilltop temple.  Next stop was Boudinath Stupa.  We made a circuit and then visited a school for artists constructing mandalas.  We finished our outing with a relaxing lunch on a rooftop overlooking the giant stupa. 

Back at the Yak and Yeti, we used the afternoon to finish organizing gear for an early trip to the airport tomorrow morning.  With all preparations complete we set out in a downpour bound for dinner.  Luckily the walk was only 5-10 minutes.  An impressive amount of monsoon rain fell while we were eating.  And an even more impressive amount fell as we were walking back to the hotel afterward. 

Best Regards

RMI Guides Dave Hahn

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Glad everyone arrived ok.  I am a friend of Catherine Rossbach’s and will be following your blogs, I hope she is doing well.  Thanks for doing this!

Posted by: jim kidder on 10/5/2023 at 6:49 am

Gokyo Trek: Hahn & Team Arrive in Kathmandu

The 2023 RMI Gokyo Trek Team hasn’t accomplished much yet… but we sure are tired.  We each arrived in Kathmandu, via separate routes, in the last day or so.  By modern travel standards, we are lucky!  No flight cancellations, no hijacked luggage.  We all made it.  But those deluxe, extra length flights and passing over half the planet’s time zones has us sleepy.  We started the program with an easy and enjoyable dinner in our hotel “The Yak and Yeti”.  Perhaps tomorrow we’ll have more bandwidth for looking around the dining room and lobby to recognize the climbing celebrities present.  This evening we just needed a little sustenance before turning in.  Kathmandu was rainy today.  Tomorrow, when we’re rested and ready to explore our surroundings, it will certainly be better. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Enjoy their Last Day in Africa

There were elephants walking between our tents in the night. We went to sleep to the sound of them eating grass and shrubs. Breakfast at Lokisale was just before sunrise and so we got the maximum value from our final day on Safari. We hated to leave such a comfortable camp, but we were excited to see what we could see. Within a few minutes drive, we’d crossed back into Tarangire National Park, but a considerable distance from the main gate. Our drivers took us along a gigantic swamp which was teeming with wildlife. We had the place to ourselves for hours.  The team was still looking high and low for leopards when we found lions. Two big males, out for a mellow morning of hunting. They simply walked toward herds of hartebeest or Cape buffalo without much stealth, hoping to get lucky. 

Then we saw a lioness and her two cubs laying about and doing cat things. Before the morning was out we’d gotten glimpses of another leopard and a couple of Cheetahs.  Not close enough for photography but close enough that we felt very lucky to see them. We headed for the main gate eventually, after a hundred more eagles and giraffes, a dozen hippos, a million impala and wildebeest and zebra. There were hyenas and mongooses and darn near everything else… except bears and tigers.  And mile after mile of beautiful East African savanna and forest. 

By noon we were out of the park and driving east toward Arusha. We made a final stop at the cultural center on the city outskirts and stretched our legs while surveying the artwork. We reached our comfortable and familiar Rivertrees Hotel just after 3 PM. Then we started having to say goodbye to one another as our itineraries diverged. Some of us are flying today, some tomorrow, some are continuing the expedition to the shores of Zanzibar. It was a good team and so we are confident of seeing each other again on some future adventure. Even so, there is just a little sadness that it all has to end for now. 

It was pretty fun. Thanks for following along. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

We sure have enjoyed your blog and making us feel like we were on the journey with our friends! Congratulations to all on the tour! Safe travels home to everyone! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip and pictures on IG Cindee! Much love!

Posted by: Allie Frankie & Tillie on 9/2/2023 at 3:18 pm

Thank you, Dave for your wonderful blog. I think you should write for a travel magazine.Your comments and insights are so descriptive - all of us on the other side of the world could imagine being part of your expedition. Thank you for taking good care of our daughter Melanie, and her close friends, Debi and Dan.  More travels in the future for these adventurers? You bet!! Wishing you all the best, Janice Smiley

Posted by: Janice Smiley on 9/1/2023 at 6:05 pm

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Complete Big Five Sighting

We made the big move from the Ngorongoro Highlands to the Tarangire dry lands.  But we didn’t rush it.  A leisurely 9 AM departure gave us lots of time to enjoy the comforts of the Plantation Lodge.  We made one stop for souvenirs and artwork, but then drove south and west to Tarangire.  We entered the park at midday on what turned out to be a blazing hot day.  All the usual players were visible immediately -impala, wildebeest and zebra.  It took a little more poking around to see the odd Eland and Hartebeest.  Tarangire is a series of three rivers running in parallel through arid land.  It is a vast network of rough dirt roads going back and forth from one drainage to the next.  Animals need the water and so we always have good luck in Tarangire.  Especially with elephants.  The team loved seeing giraffes but there were mixed feelings about eagle-owls.  We saw a male and female lion, but we didn’t watch them for long…they were napping and we like our lions to be a bit more fiesty.  We went deep into the park looking for leopards and finally Jacob jammed on the brakes and pointed up an acacia tree at a beautiful cat in a tree.  The leopard was skittish though and hopped down to run off in the tall grass.  We’d all gotten a look at him/her and seen the beautiful color and pattern of spots.  This elusive leopard completed our “big five” hunt… but we want more.  We’ve got an excellent chance of seeing leopards and lions early tomorrow on our final day of Safari.  We are in a “tent camp” just out of the park boundary (the animals don’t know there is a boundary) and so we’ll begin the morning deep within the habitat already.  Our last evening together was magical.  We sat by a campfire as the sun went down and the super blue moon came up. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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AMAZING!! WOW!! What an experience y’all! The tent camp sounds interesting like it might be a little dangerous with all the animals that hunt in the dark!! We can’t believe all the animals you got to see in their own environment. How incredibly! So many wonderful memories! Thank you Cindee & Amanda & crew for letting us share in your adventure! Safe travels home!

Posted by: Allie Frankie & Tillie on 9/2/2023 at 3:12 pm

Love the photo of the big tree; it seems so iconic to a safari. Also, not sure what an eagle-owl is and why there were mixed feelings about it, but will ask Cindee when we talk next. Again, so exciting to hear about seeing the animals and the experiences you all had! Love this daily blog and thank you Dave for keeping family and friends updated! Safe travels!

Posted by: Kasey Oldham on 8/31/2023 at 5:13 pm

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Try to See the Big Five in the Ngorongoro Crater

It was worth another predawn start to get into Ngorongoro Crater first thing in the morning. The animals are a bit more active in the cool morning than on a hot afternoon. We wanted action. The drive to the gate from Plantation Lodge was brief, but then the drive on rough roads up to the crater rim and along that rim was a good deal longer. It was slightly surreal as well because we did it in thick fog. We got under that cloud layer though as soon as we began our descent into the “crater” (which is really a caldera). At first there was some enthusiastic pointing at individual zebra and wildebeest… until our team realized there were thousands of zebra and wildebeest… not to mention gazelles and cape buffalo. 

Our guide Jacob made the sighting of the day, pointing out four lionesses. We watched them move and rest… but they were clearly hungry and making their moves with breakfast in mind. We were all watching when one of them charged a Grant’s Gazelle. The Gazelle was moving fast but the lioness had cut off his exit possibilities and took him down before our wide open eyes.  The other three big cats made their leisurely way over to enjoy a snack as we watched. It was a cool day in the crater, the clouds never really did go away. But that seemed to be fine conditions for viewing wildlife.  We saw everything from hyenas to hippos… lots of hippos. But we weren’t seeing rhinos.  They exist in Ngorongoro but they are notoriously shy.  Finally, we spotted a pair of black rhinos from the crater rim on our exit. Emmanuel, our guide found the pair with binoculars and we each ticked them of… making four of the “big five” down… elephants, lions, cape buffalo and rhinos. Just missing leopards.

On the crater rim we visited a Maasai village and saw some fine dancing and chanting, watched the men make fire and throw spears and then entered their small huts to try to understand what it really is like to hold on to traditional ways and means in a modern world.

We were back at Plantation in plenty of time to enjoy the sunset, some excellent cocktails and a perfectly prepared and presented dinner.

Best Regards

RMI Guides Dave Hahn & Team

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Wow! How cool was that to see!! What a great description we felt like we were right there with you witnessing it all go down! Wish my aunt would have done that with me instead of take me cruising downtown and make us hide in the back of her VW bug! #geauxcindeeandamanda

Posted by: Allie Frankie and Tillie on 9/2/2023 at 3:04 pm

Wow, what an awesome day! Love that you saw all those animals; what an experience! Love Dave’s descriptions; they make it easy to imagine being there! What a memorable trip for Cindee and Amanda to share!

Posted by: Kasey Oldham on 8/30/2023 at 2:53 pm

Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Descend Final 4,000 to complete their climb

At breakfast, there was overwhelming consensus that a whole night at 10,000 ft was better than half a night at 15,000 ft.  We were rested and we had appetites again and we were talking about showers.  But we still needed to get down the final 4000 ft of trail to the Mweka Gate.  Our staff pulled out all the stops for a good sendoff breakfast and then we got walking down through the forest.  At first the trail was dry and pleasant, but around 9000 ft that changed.  It got slick and muddy and treacherous.  The forest was beautiful, of course, but we couldn’t look around much because every step required care and concentration to avoid slipping.  Cheerful porters balancing great awkward loads came running down the slippery track but we had to tiptoe.  That technique worked well though, by 11:00 we were on drier and easier ground coming to the Mweka Gate at 6000 ft.  We signed out with the National Park and then rode a short distance to a local shop that hosted our team lunch and farewell ceremony with our staff.  It was a cheerful session of dancing and singing.  We tipped each and every one of the 44 Barking Zebra staff and tried to express our gratitude for their efforts.  After goodbyes and a little souvenir shopping the team boarded the bus for the two hour ride back to Rivertrees Inn in Usa River.  Showers at last!  After all of that we got together for a celebration dinner out in the garden.  The trip isn’t over, by any means, but we are entering a far more comfortable phase as we head toward Safari. 

Best regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Wow! What a wonderful experience and incredible journey! Loving your adventure Cindee & Amanda! Can’t wait to see more!

Posted by: Allie Frankie & Tillie on 9/2/2023 at 2:53 pm

Congratulations on this awesome achievement! Can’t wait to see the safari! Woo-hoo!

Posted by: Kasey Oldham on 8/29/2023 at 2:44 pm

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