Archive for November 2nd, 2015

Tuesday Run (Nov. 3)

We’ll meet near the Snail’s Pace store at 6:00 p.m. We gather in front of the In Flower floral shop (1050 E. Imperial Hwy. Brea), which is located between Snail’s Pace and Tempo Urban Grill.

Ed’s Run (5.3 miles)

Happy Birthday LESIA!!!  Lesia’s birthday is on Wednesday.   Have a wonderful day, Lesia!

Su’s Kilimanjaro Trip:  As many of you know, Su recently went to Africa, where she hiked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and also went on a safari.  She sent us a synopsis of her trip, along with some photos:

Late last year, my cousin Susan and I decided to hike Kilimanjaro.  We drew up a training plan and researched various trekking routes and companies, ultimately  joining a tour by Henry Stedman, the author of the popular Kilimanjaro book, who subcontracts to a Tanzanian company called Team Kilimanjaro.  It costs almost $3000 each for an 8 day trip through the longer Lemosho route, including a hotel the night before and after the trek, as well as airport transfers.  The range of prices for this trip went as low as $2000 up to $8000 across different companies.  We also booked a 3 day safari which costs a little over $1000.

Our B &B lodge, the Outpost,  was clean and comfortable but rustic.  I was thrilled to learn that the hotel warns us to close our windows or else monkeys might come in.  Susan was not as thrilled as she worried that the monkeys might be big scary baboons.   Our guide Faraja met us the evening before and reviewed some details of the hike.  He says our route has a 95-98% success rate.   Most days, we would be hiking 3-5 hours to camp, but our summit day would be challenging (over 16 hours of hiking).

The first day, we hiked to Forest Camp where the tropical forest housed small and large monkeys that squawked at us and tried to urinate and defecate on us.  The porters are generally young males in their 20’s, although we saw a few female porters, and they are allowed to carry 20 kg of our stuff.   We just carry our small day backpacks with a jacket, water, camera, and snacks.   The porters get to camp before us, set up our tents, set up our dining tent with chairs and tables.  They then start cooking our meals when we arrive so we have dinner at camp.  Every morning, 2 porters wake us around 6:30 am with either coffee, tea or cocoa.  They then bring us a bowl of hot water to wash with.  Then they announce breakfast, and we start hiking around 8:45.  Our guide has been doing this for 20 years, has summited 400 times and  is fairly laid back.  His attitude is the mountain will always be there.  One of the other Team Kilimanjaro guides Joshua has summited 200 times, boasts a 100% success rate, and has his team hiking by 6:30 or 7 am every morning.  He is more strict, however, and the slower hikers in his group were not happy that they hurried to camp at a fast pace.  We met a lot of interesting people including an army Colonel, an Australian doctor, and a recent Miss Holland.  Some people signed up for this trek in July and had minimal training and virtually no exposure to altitude.  Each day, we hiked slowly to the next camp, seeing changing scenery and then unwinding at camp with tea and popcorn before they served us dinner which was usually a soup, some starch, meat, and vegetables plus a light dessert.  Summit day was challenging as we awoke at 11 pm, to start hiking a little after midnight.  It was so cold, I wore about 5 layers on top and 3 layers on the bottom.  My hands and feet were still cold so I put the heat packets in my mittens while hiking.   We were a group of 6 hikers and we were accompanied by 6 guides and porters just in case.  Several girls found it hard to hike upwards and the porters took their daypack from them to carry.  When the sun comes up, it is a little warmer and we are very close to the peak.  We end up at the top, take a whole lot of pictures and start coming down to camp pretty quickly.  We had lunch at camp, relaxed for another hour, then hiked down another 5 hours to the next campsite.  We would go from an Arctic climate at the top, down a more barren mountainside, and finally to a lush tropical jungle in one day.    At our last campsite, we had a nice dinner and rejoiced in the fact that we could enjoy the convenience of indoor plumbing soon.  Before heading out, we donated clothing and outdoor gear, tipped the crew, and did a short hike to the final gate where our bus awaited us.
Once back in our previous lodge, despite the fact that the electricity and hot water was down in the city of Arusha, we had a great shower where we washed off 8 days of grime.  We quarantined our nasty smelly trekking clothes before changing into our clean safari clothes and went to a celebratory dinner with our guides.  Our driver remained at the restaurant where we celebrated for 3 hours and drank the entire time.  I was a little concerned about them driving us back to the hotel but apparently drunk driving is not a huge deal over there.  We also noticed 4-5 roller skaters holding on to a car ahead of us so their traffic laws are markedly different than ours.  We recognized an American song on the car radio and sang along with Kenny Roger’s the Gambler.
The next morning, we went on safari with our guide Sanga.  We are amazed to see zebra, elephants, monkeys, ostriches, giraffes.  We have lunch where the blue birds and the blue balled monkeys pester us for food.  At our picnic spot, our jeep top has to be pulled down as Sanga tells us “the monkeys shit in the jeep if they don’t find food”.    We ended up staying at a lodge with a spectacular view of the Ngorogoro crater.  The next morning, we drive into the crater where we see a sleeping lion, as well as lionesses stalking a wart hog while her baby cubs walk over to the jeeps and sit down.  We have our lunch near a pond and our guide informs us that the most dangerous animal is the hippo as they kill the most people.  I point out that there are 3 or 4 hippos just a few feet away from us but he reassures us that “don’t worry about those hippos.  Those are tourist hippos.”  We also see a male ostrich travel a huge distance to court a female ostrich who just isn’t interested.  Perhaps she already has a boyfriend.  Who knows?
All in all, the trip was definitely a bucket list for me and one of the best my cousin has ever been on.  I guess since we trained so much and our group pace was so slow, the trek felt easier than expected.  Susan’s heartrate moniter didn’t go above 140 except when she went to the bathroom tent at night.   The hardest thing about this trip was having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom tent.  The best thing was we summited Kilimanjaro and had a fabulous time doing it.
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