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Entries from Kilimanjaro


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Summit!

Summit Day!  We had flat-out perfect weather for it, which is only what we would have expected after the past five splendid days.  The pattern held… Sea of clouds far below, nothing whatsoever up high. 
We were up at 11:30 and on the trail by 12:50 AM.  By about 4 AM, we were wearing nearly everything we had.  Although it was calm and clear, it was also COLD.  Those of the team that looked up saw a snake of headlights working up Kibo, a fair number of shooting stars, the International Space Station, constellations and a crescent moon forming a smile on the horizon.  Those that looked down saw a whole lot of trudging steps for the seven hours and ten minutes it took us to hit Uhuru… the highest point of Kibo, of Kilimanjaro, and of Africa.  Sunrise caught us just before we reached the crater rim and was welcome for its beauty, but even more for its warmth.  We spent about 25 happy minutes on top and got moving downward just before 8:30.  The mountain was busy -as always- but we had no trouble with traffic jams on either the climb or descent.  We were back to Barafu by 11:05 AM and sitting at the lunch table soon afterward.  Then, much as we’d have enjoyed a good nap, it was time to pack and get out of Barafu.  The team made good time on tricky trails and reached Mweka Camp by 4:15PM, having gotten rid of another 5,000 vertical feet in the process.  We are back in tall heather after a couple of days in the alpine zone.  All are figuring they’ve got a good chance of overcoming jet lag and altitude tonight to get a full night of well-earned sleep. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Deborah - we love it that you always take the road less traveled by ... We have never been so proud of you!!  Congratulations on this huge milestone!!

Posted by: Anne and Michael (Deborah's tribe)! on 8/28/2016 at 6:13 pm

“There are those who see mountains and ask why and there are those who see mountains and ask why not.”
Sending our deepest congratulations on achieving your “why not”!!!
Kudos to each of you and our deepest appreciation to Dave for the amazing blogs. Celebrate accomplishing your dream and then work on dreaming about the next goal!

Posted by: Kathy and Denny Meyers (Jason's Mom and Dad) on 8/28/2016 at 12:40 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Arrive At High Camp

Yet another day of perfect weather.  Morning down at Karanga Camp was easy and pleasant with strong sunshine and no wind.  There is still a sea of cloud down below us, but that has just become the normal way of things.  At breakfast, we talked of the incredible night skies we’ve been experiencing.  The Milky Way, the planets, the Southern Cross and a thousand other constellations have been taking advantage of the moon’s absence.  The bulk of Kibo has been glowing brilliantly just in starlight. 
We got out of Karanga at 8:45 AM and cruised into 15,200 ft Barafu Camp by noon.  The entire group is moving well and strong.  We practiced walking and breathing techniques along the way that ought to save us energy on the climb early tomorrow.  It was a quiet afternoon of eating, drinking, resting and prepping for the ascent.  Freddy, Tadey, Filbert, Wendelin and Ayumi… our guides, stopped in after lunch to make sure everybody was feeling good about the challenges that lie ahead.  We’ll be up at 11:30 PM and eating “breakfast” at midnight.  Big day tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

The Summit awaits…hope you can sleep!  You must be up there by now…what a triumphant journey for you, Deborah.  Be strong, rest step, drink it all in!  Congrats sister xo

Posted by: Susan Finzel-Aldred on 8/27/2016 at 5:49 pm

Brian, the night sky must be beautiful from up there! Enjoy your awesome climb! Love you!

Posted by: Marilyn Palmer (Brian's mom) on 8/27/2016 at 3:55 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Enjoy Good Weather As They Ascend

Our ridiculously fine weather continues.  The morning in Shira Camp was calm and clear.  There wasn’t so much as a hint of any cloud or wind up on the heights of Kibo and for the first time, the sea of cloud below us wasn’t complete.  We could actually see bits of Africa far below.  We got walking at 8:25.  This was easier terrain than yesterday’s rock-hopping.  Just steady uphill strolling through low desert-style vegetation.  We got closer and closer to Kibo and at 12:30 PM we reached our high point for the day.  Fifteen thousand two hundred feet above sea level shattered altitude records for all but two of our ten person team.  We celebrated with a rest break, some fist bumping and photos.  Then it was time to get rid of altitude as we worked down toward the Barranco Valley.  The scenery was outrageous as we crept under the ice fields, hanging glaciers and giant rock walls of Kibo’s south side.  Eventually we found our way down into the crazy vegetation again -giant Scenecios and Lobelias caught our attention as did the waterfalls and caves in the lava layers.  We were in another perfect camp built at 13,000 ft below the great Barranco Wall.  Afternoon weather was found to be just as perfect as the morning.  All are hoping for a good night of sleep before the morning’s wall climb. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Shattered records, fantastic weather, and amazing views…so envious of your perfect day!  Congrats to everyone and keep going strong.

Posted by: Jen Potter (Jason's Sister) on 8/25/2016 at 11:34 am


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Ascend to the Shira Plateau

We woke to a calm and clear morning down at Machame Camp.  The sun hit around 7:30 AM, just in time for breakfast.  Before we got on the trail, Freddy -our lead guide, introduced some of the key personnel on his forty five person staff and we had a round of jambos and handshakes. 
We were walking by 8:20 and sweating by about 8:30 as the initial route involved some serious uphill on big rock steps through the heather.  The big hazard in our first few hours was that the views were so spectacular I worried that the team wouldn’t watch their steps.  There was plenty to look at as giant Mount Meru -the 16,000 ft volcano back next to Arusha, was standing tall above a sea of clouds to our west.  That sea of brilliant white clouds extended in every direction, beneath us.  We had great views of Kibo, Kilimanjaro’s main peak, and the rugged heights of Shira, its western satellite.  We got to see our first Lobelias and Scenecios as we reached the upper limits of the heather.  By then we were traversing left and negotiating small steep lava walls on our way out to the Shira Plateau.  We were in our newest camp by 1PM. This one is quite a change from the last as we are now well out of the forest.  Kibo never did cloud up today so we got to look at it all afternoon as we rested at 12,600 ft.  We’ll head straight toward it tomorrow for a closer look at our ultimate goal.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Way to get after it, Team! Onward and Upward!! Thanks for the map too. Gives a great perspective on the days ahead.
Rest well, Stay Strong, Mary #HarshStrong

Posted by: Bill and Kathy Harshbarger (Mary's Parents) on 8/24/2016 at 4:59 pm

Sounds like you could clearly see your goal and had beautiful views all day long.  Here’s to a peaceful night and another spectacular day tomorrow.

Posted by: Jen Potter (Jason's Sister) on 8/24/2016 at 3:03 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Reach Machame Camp

Jambo from 9,900 ft on Mount Kilimanjaro. We are happily bedded down at Machame Camp after a great day of walking.  The day began with the team shuffling duffle bags back and forth in the dark on the grounds of the Dik Dik. We were eating breakfast at 6:30 AM and then we actually drove out of the hotel compound at 7:28 AM…An unbelievable and unprecedented two minutes ahead of schedule. Our mighty Mercedes truck/bus carried food, gear and a huge number of climbers and staff. It was quite cloudy, so we didn’t get to see the mountain during the two hour drive.  But we saw plenty of interest along the highway, from villages to towns to cornfields, banana and coffee farms.  At the Machame entrance to the National Park, there was the normal hurry up and wait process of getting the team registered and the porter loads sorted. By 11 AM it was all done and we got to start walking. Naturally -in terms of altitude- this was our low point for the day…6000 ft, but all agreed that it was an emotional high point. It just felt so good to start walking uphill through a forest after all the planning, preparing, travel and jet lag. The team did well with Filbert -one of our local guides- setting a perfect “pole pole” pace. (Slow in Swahili).  After a couple of hours, we were out from under the clouds and all were surprised and pleased to see Kibo -Kilimanjaro’s main peak- through a break in the trees.  The forest transformed as we got higher and at 4:30 we pulled into a well built camp in the giant heather.  We moved in -grateful at all the work our staff had put in. We sat for an excellent three course dinner just after sunset and told stories into the darkness.
 
We finished with a round of “lala salamas”. (Sleep well) and turned in for the night. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

It’s so exciting to read about what the team is experiencing.  Thanks for the blog.  I feel that I’m there with you!

Posted by: Sue Rentschler(Jason's aunt) on 8/24/2016 at 6:26 am

Finally - you are all on your way!  While we know each of you is focused on the summit, remember to also focus on your journey.  “Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.”.
Countless thanks to you, Dave for the blog and your info. - it’s awesome to follow your trek!

Posted by: Kathy and Denny Meyers (Jason's Mom and Dad) on 8/23/2016 at 2:54 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team On the Road Again

Daybreak and moonset at Kikoti were just as wonderful as sunset had been yesterday evening.  The team enjoyed a quiet and excellent breakfast before hitting the road at 8 AM.  We were right back onto the rough dirt tracks of Tarangire National Park.  There was plenty of great exploring over the following four hours… Lots more elephants, zebras, giraffes, vultures and eagles.  We scanned gullies and great plains, looked high and low.  No more big cats, but we all figured it was ok to save some things for our next safari.  This one wrapped up at noon as we started eastward on the road back toward Arusha.  We made one stop at the cultural heritage center on Arusha’s outskirts.  Everybody was getting more and more “time conscious” though -as is natural with an international flight looming.  We got back to the quiet grounds of the Dik Dik in time for some repacking and freshening up.  Then we enjoyed a final -excellent- dinner together.  The ride to the airport began just after sunset and the team cheered to see Kilimanjaro’s 19,000 ft heights glowing above a few low clouds.  It has been an exciting couple of weeks in Africa.
By now the gang is on the wing, homeward bound.  I’ll hang out for another round of Kili climbing and looking for cats.  Thanks for keeping tabs on us.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn


Kilimanjaro: Hahn and Team See Hundreds of Elephants!

We tore ourselves away from the luxurious Plantation Lodge this morning in search of more animals.  Tarangire National Park has delivered nicely.  We spent the day looking at hundreds of elephants, thousands of Zebra and wildebeest, eagles, vultures, superb starlings and dik diks.  Certainly the high point was watching seven lions… Including several generations of cubs, turning a wildebeest into an all-you-can-eat buffet.  They were absolutely ruling the waterhole -until a band of thirsty elephants moved in.  The lions dragged their carcass a discreet distance into the shrubs and stayed away from the happy elephants.  We watched it all.  We then went exploring, enjoying the vastness of Tarangire.  We scanned every boabab and acacia tree for leopards but haven’t yet seen them… Same with the cheetahs.  We know they are out there though and we’ll hope to see them tomorrow morning. 

Tonight we are quite comfortable in the tent cabins of Kikoti Lodge out on the beautiful estate boundary of Tarangire.  The team enjoyed the end of their last full day in Africa by watching the sun set over a campfire.  Tomorrow we’ll have that last chance at the cats as we spend the morning going back through the park before hitting the highway for Arusha and Usa River. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Jasna and Jason

I haven’t been able to follow your whole trip but I just read/caught up and wow! Can’t wait to hear all about it! Safe travels friends.

~JanieMac

Posted by: JanieMac on 8/18/2016 at 5:59 pm

Kate and Ben,  How exciting to see nature at its finest. We can’t even imagine what it was like to see all those magnificent animals in their element.  Enjoy your last day.  Seems like your adventure had just begun.  Looking forward to seeing all your pictures.  Safe travels.  Love mom and Ted.

Posted by: Janet Armentrout on 8/18/2016 at 4:42 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Visit Ngorongoro Crater

After a luxurious night at the Plantation Lodge, we were well-rested and ready to charge off for day two of our game-viewing Safari.  A short drive brought us to the entrance of the Ngorongoro conservation area.  Our drivers got us safely up the rugged road to the rim of a great collapsed volcanic caldera.  For a time, as we drove around the cloudy rim, the “crater” was hidden from view, but eventually we started down into the bowl and could see the full extent of the valley.  Joseph and Erik took us on the network of rough dirt roads around the interior of the crater until we’d seen our fill of wildebeest and zebra, hippos and gazelles, warthogs and Cape buffalo.  We spied one of the rare black rhinos from some distance -they are shy- and kept our eyes peeled for more.  We caught ostriches sharing a private moment, and then topped that experience by witnessing a pair of lions getting to know one another.  The day was pretty magical… there were a few stray elephants thrown into the vast mix of wildlife.  Today we were seeing full herds of animals rather than ones and twos of a species and that meant that we were often surrounded in our land cruisers… happily so.

We left the crater and visited a traditional Masai “boma”  This village on the rim housed a nomadic extended family.  We watched traditional dances and toured the simple homes formed of sticks and dung.  It was a view into a vastly different world than our own and we tried to understand how these herdsmen lived in the land of lions and leopards with only spears for protection. We were back at our own nomadic village -The Plantation Lodge, before sundown and enjoying the garden like setting and warm hospitality.

Tomorrow we’ll head for Tarrangire National Park.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Perfect. Delighted the big cats did not disappoint.

Posted by: JH on 8/18/2016 at 5:51 am

What chance and pleasure Jasna ! Finally you have seen the TRUE HIPPOS (your hippos) Good return to home and pleasant trip , Jason and Jasna .
With love mama Rada

Posted by: mama Rada on 8/17/2016 at 11:46 pm


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Visit Lake Manyara National Park

Although our bodies were still a little tired and sore from climbing, we were up early and breakfasting today with excitement and anticipation for our safari start.  The first part was actually through the urban jungle of Arusha at rush hour.  Our drivers skillfully took the two tricked-out Toyota Land Cruisers through a crazy mix of highway construction, cattle and “normal” road congestion to get us out onto the open road, west of town.  We watched several hours of towns, villages and Masai herdsmen drift by before we entered Lake Manyara National Park.  Then the tops were rolled back and we all tried our best to spot the next exotic animal.  We couldn’t beat the guide/drivers, Erik and Joseph… or even our cook, Zach.  Time after time, they’d find the zebra, Cape buffalo, elephant, mongoose, giraffe or baboon first.  We had a wonderful afternoon in the park.  No big cats, but we saw their tracks and knew they were out there -watching us.  With the last of daylight, we rolled up at the Plantation Lodge and were all surprised to find such luxurious and welcoming accommodations in the “outback”.  Tomorrow we’ll head for Ngorongoro Crater. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn


Kilimanjaro: Hahn & Team Mweka Gate to the Dik Dik

Our climb finished with an easy and pleasant trip from 10,000 ft to the 6,000 ft trailhead this morning.  We all counted ourselves lucky to have blue skies over our breakfast table… One more lucky day, it seemed.  After breakfast, the entire staff gathered and sang the Kilimanjaro Jambo song -with feeling and gusto.  The team members then shook hands with each and every man, expressing gratitude for a bunch of jobs well-done.  We knew that our “luck” and success on the climb… and our enjoyment of it, came in large part from the efforts of these dedicated professionals.  We set out down the heavily forested trail at about 8:30 AM and had made it to the Mweka Gate -the finish, in under three hours.
After signing out of the National Park, we crowded into our great expedition truck/bus and started down through the banana and coffee plantations.  We cruised through the outskirts of Moshi and then hit the road west toward Arusha.  Mid-drive, the staff had arranged a picnic for us at a roadside eatery.  We relaxed and sipped a few cool beverages with our lunch and then clambered back into the big green adventure vehicle.  Our homecoming at the Dik Dik Hotel was the occasion for a few more great songs and dances and then we headed off to our rooms for a relaxed afternoon of showers, gear sorting, napping and catching up with communications.
The evening was time for a fine victory dinner.  We ate, we celebrated, we talked about the upcoming safari.  We’ll set out first thing tomorrow for a few more Tanzanian national parks.  Our only trouble is that we are getting very spoiled… our expectations are sky high.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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