Entries from Kilimanjaro
The big payoff starts and the dividends are fabulous. We had a great afternoon at Lake Manyara National Park. We successfully shifted gears from mountain living to wildlife viewing. We were on the road just after 8:30 and a few hours later pulled into the park. We had lunch just inside the gate where we had our first visit with a troop of baboons. They were very interested with our lunch boxes and for good reason, once again Barking Zebra providee us with a fantastic assortment of goodies that fuels the furnace to get us through to our next feast, definitely not starving on this trip. We started the game drive where the roof of our Landcruiser is modified to open up and create great sighting of all the animals which were everywhere. Under an hour drive from the gate puts us at the Plantation Lodge just outside the gate of tomorrow’s park. Very, very, very comfortable here. Even if you didn’t come down from a big mountain you would feel the same way.
Round trip complete! Back in the lodge where we started a week ago and it feels great.
We enjoyed recounting our adventure during a nice dinner out on the patio. We awoke early this morning and were treated to yet another scrumptious breakfast and lots of fresh Tanzanian bold coffee. After that we had a really fun closing ceremony with the Barking Zebra staff. Awesome job from start to finish. These guys took such good care of us and a pleasure to spend time with on Kilimanjaro. There was a small matter of a three-hour hike to the park gate, but it was enjoyable with no rain in the mystical descent through the cloud forest. The sights and sounds were amazing. Lots of happy campers after a hot shower and looking forward to sleeping in a bed.
Tomorrow we start our safari; it’s going to be a blast.
Balloon Camp was the perfect final night in Africa for our team, tranquil and wild in equal measures. There were leopard tracks in the dirt of the driveway this morning. But the big cats stayed away from us in the day. We looked hard for the lions, cheetahs and leopards, scanning every acacia branch and watering hole, but all we saw were beautiful birds and herds. Vultures, eagles, lilac breasted rollers and mongooses, impalas, waterbuck, elan, Zebra, giraffes, elephants, baboons and monkeys. Until we rolled out of the park entrance at 11 AM and reluctantly left Tarangire. Adamson and Makubi piloted the Landcruisers along the dusty, busy two-lane toward Mt. Meru and Arusha. On the outskirts of town, we stopped for a picnic and a perusal of the Cultural Heritage Center. We pulled into our home away from home, the Arumeru River Lodge at 3PM. Showered, repacked and regrouped. We had an early dinner together and chased out to Kilimanjaro Airport as the sun got low. Now we are in 17A and 42K, etc… winging our way to Amsterdam, where we’ll split up… but only until the next adventure together. It is too good a team to lose… random reunions in beautiful places are in order.
Thank you for following along.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
As always Dave, enjoy following your wonderful adventures. Hope to see you at the St. B in the future.
Posted by: Bob Iles on 8/13/2017 at 11:38 pm
All is well here at Meweka Camp 10,000’. It is raining a bit but we are dry in our tents.
We had a very nice climb today. We started around midnight from Baranco Camp and reached the summit of Kilimanjaro at 7am. There was very little wind and clear skies. We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise and a nice morning shadow of the mountain with clouds below. Once we returned to High Camp, we packed up quick and pushed down the remaining 5,000’ of, at times, steep trail in a few hours. It’s our last night on the big hill and sleep is going to come easy. Our mountain staffs preparing dinner. We have a great crew taking care of us. And I had the pleasure of leading a fine team up to the Roof of Africa today.
Audio Message from summit of Kilimanjaro:
Hey, Mr. Mark Tucker here on the top of Kilimanjaro. We left as a team from the High Camp and still on top as a team. Awesome job by the whole group here and little bit chilly, but wow very little wind so we had a very very very nice climb. So we’re going to probably start heading back down here in just a minute, and we’re all doing great. So we’re going to head down hill and we’ll get back to you a little bit later. Ciao for now.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker calls in from the summit of Kilimanjaro.
On The Map
Congratulations to all. Have fun on safari.
Posted by: Peter Melrose on 8/14/2017 at 9:11 am
Jambo! Good job, Mark! Thanks for your blogs. Mom and Dad
Posted by: Margaret Tucker on 8/13/2017 at 12:07 pm
Another long, but amazing day out on the safari circuit for the Taos team. We had a relaxed 9 AM departure from the Plantation Lodge. Adamson and Makubi took us to a Masai village for a brief tour. We danced a little, jumped high, and got inside some small, earthen dwellings to understand how this prominent Tanzanian tribe lives without modern conveniences. Then it was on to Tarangire National Park. Before long we were deep within this immense network of winding dirt roads, baobab trees, twisting river valleys and animals animals animals. We no longer stopped for individual zebras and wildebeest, since we were seeing thousands of them. After the hundredth giraffe and the five hundredth elephant, we started reserving our picture snaps for the babies in the bunch. We covered mile after mile, exploring and watching out for wildcats, water bucks, elan, impalas and gazelles. Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater were each wonderful, but both were discreet areas with natural borders hemming them in. That isn’t the case with Tarangire. We could see wildlife spread out to the horizons in all directions… the Africa we’d dreamed of. By day’s end, we pulled into Balloon Camp, an excellent “tent” hotel out in the bush with armed guards to escort us from one tent to another. Those guards stood vigilant as we enjoyed an outdoor campfire and sumptuous barbecue buffet under the stars (and clouds). No lions, leopards, or cheetahs intruded on our wonderful dinner but we are still hoping they’ll come for breakfast. It will be our last morning of Safari and we are still excited to see just what might be out there.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
August 12, 2017
Posted by: Mark Tucker
We have just pulled into high camp, Barafu Camp, located at 15,000’ on Kilimanjaro. Our tent sites are on the low side of camp so I’m calling the elevation 14,900’. We have been moving as one cohesive unit which will make the climb tonight go really smooth.
There are a few clouds around making for good pictures and still allowing great views of the upper mountain.
We are up here with plenty of time to rest, fuel up and prepare for the summit push ahead tonight. Repacking our gear and making high calorie lunches in between naps is in store for us. The team is in great shape and we are all fired up and ready for our summit attempt.
On The Map
Grandma Barbara, so proud of your successful climb. Love you.
Posted by: Meryl on 8/12/2017 at 10:35 am
Yay! We love you! Enjoy the view from the top.
Posted by: Haley on 8/12/2017 at 10:35 am
Even on vacation, it was worth getting up early today to get over to Ngorongoro Crater. We left Plantation Lodge at 7 AM and were up on the crater rim just 90 minutes later. It was cold, cloudy and windy, but we figured things would be a little more user friendly down in the “crater”. Technically, it is a caldera… not a crater. And animals like a good caldera, apparently.
We got down inside and the weather was indeed better, but it never got exactly “good”. We wore jackets and sweaters (which is par for the course at 7000 ft) but we still opened up the top of our Landcruiser and rolled down the windows. Immediately, we encountered zebras, and then more zebras. Wildebeest and then more wildebeest, Cape buffalo by the dozen, Kori bustards and Secretary Birds and ostriches. And then we saw lions. Four big fully maned males lounging about and one female who seemed a bit more restless. We watched hippos doing what hippos do (not much) some more lions, hyenas, jackals, elephants, eagles, vultures and several flavors of gazelle. We saw tons of animals and kept constant watch out for more. We came up empty in our rhino search, but that happens. Not many of them left to see in Tanzania. Adamson and Makubi, our extremely knowledgeable driver/guides took us all over the crater/caldera. We climbed back up the steep walls around 4 PM with most everybody a bit sleepy. Which worked out fine because we were back frolicking in the swimming pool and sipping coldies by 5 at the Plantation Lodge.
We’ll be well rested and ready for another deluxe safari day tomorrow.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Still enjoying every moment of this marvelous adventure! Thank you for sharing. BIG HUGS
Posted by: Yolanda Deveaux on 8/11/2017 at 6:34 pm
August 11, 2017
RMI Guides Geoff Schellens and Mike King lead their teams to the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. After enjoying some time in the crater they started their descent to Camp Muir. They will take a short rest and then continue down to Paradise.
Congratulations to today’s Summit Climbers!
August 11, 2017
Posted by: Mark Tucker
The group is doing great after a strong showing on the trail today. We are at Karanga Valley which sits at 13,100’ and is our last stop before Kilimanjaro’s High Camp.
We tackled the Barranco Wall this morning and had a very smooth ascent up the steep slopes. When we were about 2/3 of the way up we could look back down on last night’s camp which looked like a camp for ants. The rest of the way felt like it was a dance off with a bunch of ups and downs.
A few clouds made for very comfortable climbing conditions and a picturesque setting. No sooner did we arrive to camp than a two minute rain shower began, luckily we had our tents for shelterr and more big mountain story when we get home.
We’re all relaxing now before dinner and tomorrow we head up to Barafu camp at 15,000’.
On The Map
Absolutely wonderful to be able to see where your team is. Hello and love to Jen Girard and Geoff Melrose.
Posted by: Brenda on 8/12/2017 at 10:46 am
Very exciting!! Wishing you all a successful climb to the top!
Posted by: Wendy on 8/12/2017 at 3:49 am
A day after the big and arduous week on Kilimanjaro, nobody in our team had the slightest trouble rallying for the Safari departure this morning. We were driving westward just before 8 AM in two souped up and modified Toyota Landcruisers. Rush hour traffic on the outskirts of Arusha fascinated us, but we were plenty happy to leave it behind and break into open country for a couple of hours. Lake Manyara National Park was today’s destination. At first, we stopped for every velvet monkey and baboon, but we gradually grew more demanding and Manyara kept delivering. We were in game viewing heaven by midday with Cape Buffalo, hippos, thousands of storks and pelicans, zebras, warthogs and wildebeest roaming the lake’s edge. The forest elephants we saw up close and personal delighted us to no end. In late afternoon, just when eyelids were beginning to droop and the cruisers were pointed toward the park exit… we had an impromptu and unexpected encounter with a leopard. Our eyes widened, his/her eyes widened, our cameras clicked and the beautiful cat came toward us and crossed the road in full view for just a magical moment. The big kitty melted into the brush and we went on our way… amazed at our good fortune. We drove up the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley (which we learned runs 10,000 kilometers from Jordan to Mozambique) and found our way to the Plantation Lodge. The perfectly tended gardens, luxurious accommodations, and welcoming staff caused more than one Taoseño to contemplate staying indefinitely in East Africa. We’ll tear ourselves away for a day in Ngorongoro Crater tomorrow though… luxury can wait.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Thank for the continued updates! Sounds like Team Taos is having a great time. Cementing great friendships!! Thinking of you all !! Take care!
Posted by: Sarah's Mom & Dad on 8/11/2017 at 8:22 am