After my Amsterdam jaunt, I had a couple weeks' work and then it was time for yet another vacay. This time, rather than a leisurely excursion in Europe, I was destined to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world and the highest in Africa, for the second year in a row, third time in my life, with my dad, also known as Papa Bear.
Dad arrived a couple days prior to the trek in order to get over the initial jetlag of coming from America and also to rest up before our big challenge. We drove around town and saw friends; went out to the golf course at TPC, Moshi's sugar plantation; visited the Toa kids at Gabriella; took Drogo to the vet for boarding; and generally enjoyed the sights of Kilimanjaro at town level.
Then, it was off to the races.
Like with my mother last year, climbing Kili was meant to be a bonding experience for me and my parents, one at a time, a trip for us to really get to know each other, me in my 40s in Tanzania, Mom and Dad in their 70s as my guests. (See: http://toanafasi.blogspot.com/2015/07/nani-kama-mama.html, http://toanafasi.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-beautiful-beast.html)
As with Mama Bear, Dad and I climbed the Marangu Route, the *easiest* of all the routes and the only one with huts rather than tents. We were aiming to get the most rest, and be out of the natural elements as much as possible.
Still, sleep and comfort proved elusive. We were on a big freakin' mountain, after all! We managed to insulate ourselves from the cold fairly well, but the Diamox we had taken to help with acclimatization kept us both awake with frequent trips to the toilets, which were far away in the frigid dark.
I coped okay, but Dad, after five sleepless nights, was sufficiently exhausted that he did not attempt the summit. I was actually rather grateful for this as last year, with Mom, it took us a whopping twelve hours to reach Uhuru Peak and I was curious to know what my personal time would be, sans 70-year-old appendage. That, and also being able to walk without the fear that I was inadvertently committing parenticide by forcing these fogies up the hill....
Turns out I did quite well! 7.5hours from Kibo Hut (base camp) to Uhuru and 3hours down, another 2.5 to meet Dad back at Horombo, our home away from home, where we had just spent three previous nights acclimatizing/resting.
Of course, both of us being Rosenblooms, we were entirely unconcerned for our own safety, even in our various miseries, and totally preoccupied with how the other one was doing. When I descended from Uhuru to Kibo, I had the ranger call down to Horombo to let Papa Bear know that Goldilocks was doing just fine.
We made our final descent the following day and I was given my certificate for the second year in a row: a successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, "the roof of Africa"! Enjoy the photos below!!
Dad at the junction between Horombo and Kibo. We hiked this twice: once on our acclimatization day, after which we returned to Horombo, and then once for realz after which we continued on to Kibo.
Me and Papa Bear upon reaching Kibo Hut, base camp on the Marangu Route. Dad was dunzo after this.
Also at Kibo Hut, with Mawenzi behind us.
The next day, for the brutal summit, I followed Methley Swai, our friend and guide, up to the top.
I have written about Methley many times on this blog in both capacities, but for more info, check those two entries about last year's climb and also this day trip with Angi back in 2013: http://toanafasi.blogspot.com/2013/07/early-childhood-into-woods-and-baked.html. Methley's company is called Just-Kilimanjaro - look it up!
Stopping for a breath before a beautiful backdrop.
Me and Methley strolling to Uhuru.
I clearly never lost my zest for story-telling, even at nearly 6,000meters! Looks like whatever I was going on about was pretty funny though!!
Uhuru Peak: veni....
PS: And for all the naysayers who wondered what we could be doing up there at Horombo all that time, here's a little peak into a day in the life....!
PPS: Any potential trekkers out there for July 2017, let me know....!!