Arusha, Tanzania

Trip Start Sep 23, 2005
1
8
14
Trip End Jul 31, 2006


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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Sunday, February 5, 2006

Happy February! So we just got back from an amazing
month in Tanzania including an 11 day safari and an
ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Safari:

When we first booked this trip and I told my parents
all the places we were going, Tanzania was the one
that caught their eye. They immediately stepped up and
booked us on an 11 day safari which included visiting
Tarangiri NP, Lake Manyara NP, Ngorongoro Crater &
Serengeti NP with a combination of tent camping and
staying in lodges.

We saw it all on this safari: Lions, Elephants,
Buffalo, Leopards, Cheetahs, Hippos, Crocs, Gazelles,
Impalas, Bald Eagles, a Black Rhino, Zebras, a
Wildabeast Migration, etc, etc, etc........

It was incredible, one minute we would see a pride of
Lions in the distance and the next minute they are 5
feet from our vehicle. We witnessed mating Lions,
mating Baboons, Lions feeding on prey, Vultures
fighting over prey, Elephants fighting over territory,
a Leopard carrying prey into a tree, a hippo pool off
40 hippos, a 20 foot crocodile; it was sick!

The scariest moment for sure was the night that we
heard lions off in the distance from our tent. Then
the noises got closer....and closer...and closer until
there was a Lion right outside our tent. Sue is going,
"Timbo do you hear that Buffalo"....yeah, I wish it
were a Buffalo. Finally, after it circled our tent,
and everyone else's tent as we found out at breakfast,
it took off into the bush. There was definately a
moment, probably when I could feel its breath on my
neck, where I thought for sure we were lion food.

Overall the safari was a blast, huge thanks to the
Timbo's for hooking it up! It was great to experience
this with them and so good to see a familiar face
after 4 months.

Mt. Kilimanjaro:

This was the most physically challenging task either
one of us has ever been through in our lives. This is
a 6 day trip, day's 1 - 5 are climbing to the summit
and days 5 - 6 are descending back to the bottom. The
first three days were incredible. We hiked through
rain forest, heather, moarlands, lava rock, all of it
was amazing scenery and the hiking was tough but
enjoyable. Day 4 got tougher and we hiked for 6 hours,
mostly uphill, until we reached camp 4 at 16,100ft,
the highest either one of us has ever been to. We
reached camp 4 at 5pm, had dinner at 7pm, and then got
4 hours of rough sleep before waking up at 11pm for
the summit push.

We left camp at 12:30am on Feb. 2 and started hiking
through the night. The sky was as bright as we have
ever seen it. You could reach out and touch the Big
Dipper, there were traces of the milky way all over
the sky, there were shooting stars everywhere and then
Mars came out and we could literally turn our
headlamps off because it was that bright. At 6:30am we
were still hiking as the sun came up over a cloud
filled sky, probably the most amazing sun rise we have
ever seen! The next 2 hours were the toughest, from
6:30 - 7:30 we hiked until we reached what we thought
was the summit only to find out we had another hour to
go. At least we could now see the glaciers that Kili
is famous for and they didn't dissapoint. This was the
highlight, seeing the glaciers close up in the morning
light was spectacular!

At this point we were both shot. We had headaches,
stomach aches and were just completely exhausted from
hiking uphill for 7 hours on 4 hours sleep. We drug
each other up the final 300 feet to the summit at 5895
meters (that's 19,340 feet to me and you Russ).
Arriving to the summit at 8:30am we took a few crooked
photos and headed back down. There was no embrace at
the top or big high fives, all we wanted to do was
turn around and go back down immediately. At that
altitude our bodies were shutting down and there
wasn't even enough air for us to complain about it.
After 3 more hours of hiking back to down to camp 4 we
took a short nap (since we weren't done yet) before
descending another 3 hours (that's 14 hours for those
counting at home) so that we could camp at 12,000ft.

Whew, I'm tired just typing all this crap.

Needless to say there was a point where the climb
wasn't fun anymore and it was just a matter of willing
ourselves to the top.....climbing a 14er on the
weekend with my dog in Colorado is a blast but doing
anything like this again is out of the question. It
was a cool experience and I'm glad we went through it
but I think we both agree that we are leaving this
stuff to the real mountaineers from now on.

We are now in Cairo, Egypt and will be heading to the
Pyramids tomorrow! Woo Hoo.


Love Jay and Sue
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