Updated: 17 December 2011
The start of my journey . . . I will travel from Los Angeles, CA, where I will spend the holidays with family, to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport . I now have a longer layover than anticipated (11.5 hours), but hope to connect with friends in Amsterdam. I arrive in Amsterdam at 9:15 am local time.
Today, I will have my layover in Amsterdam – 11.5 hours. I leave on an evening flight (10:40 PM) for Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
I arrive early in the morning – 7 AM! Upon arrival, I will take a bus to Flying Kites Kinangop Children’s Center (FKKCC). The trip will take me about 1 hr 45 minutes. After a rest, I will have the afternoon free to meet the Flying Kites children, to learn about the facility and to relax.
Today I will spend time at the orphanage and with the children.
December 31st – New Year’s Eve 2011:
Today we will have activities with the children. Then one of the highlights of the journey – we will spend New Year’s Eve celebrating with the Flying Kites Family in Njabini!
January 1st – A new year, a new beginning:
Today I depart for my safari.
January 2nd – 4th:
I will be on safari. More details to come.
Today I will meet the other hikers as I arrive back at the Flying Kites Kinangop Children’s Center (FKKCC).
Today I will spend the day with the children and other climbers.
We depart the FKKCC early in morning and arrive Arusha, Tanzania around 5pm.
From Arusha, we drive to the Machame Park gate, then take a gentle climb up through the original montane forest, carpeted with unique “busy lizzie” flowers, begonias, and ferns. Our first camp will be amongst the giant heather at 3,000m. Our ascent will be 1,200m and take 5-6 hours walking.
We emerge from the giant heather zone and hike through the open moorland to camp. Our ascent is 840m and we take 4-5 hours walking.
From Shira, we climb towards the main peak Kibo, with the western glaciers clearly visible across the rugged high-altitude desert of volcanic rocks and boulders. Skirting around its base and under the imposing Western Breach, we descend into the sheltered Barranco Valley for mid-way camp at 3,950m. Although walk 5-7 hours, our total ascent is only 110m! However having climbed higher and dropping back down assists with acclimatization.
We climb up the steep Barranco Wall with some sections of very easy scrambling and drop down again to the Karanga Valley. This is a short walking day, around 3 hours, and again we climb about 300m but drop back down again to around 4,000m.
Up to a new camp about 100m above Barafu Hut perched high on a rocky bluff at 4,000m. Fantastic views across to Mawenzi peak, and a bit less to climb tomorrow morning! This is another short walking day, about 4 hours with a 700m height gain, and time for a good rest in the afternoon immediately before the hard summit day.
A bracing 1am start to climb the steep frozen scree. We aim to reach Stella Point on the crater rim for sunrise – another 40 mins and you’re at the highest point on the continent, usually in warm sunshine. We return on the Mweka descent route. Walking time 7 hours and 1,300m ascent to the summit, 5-6 hours and 2,800m descent to our camp in a clearing amongst the giant heather at Mweka. This is a long and hard day – you’ll feel tired but absolutely ecstatic after you’ve done it.
A 4-5 hours descent through the forest to Mweka Gate to collect our certificates and meet our vehicle. We return to Arusha, arriving early to mid-afternoon.
We head back to Nairobi where we will have a free afternoon to explore the city. The I board a late evening flight back to Amsterdam. (10:55 pm)
This will be a long day of travel. I arrive in Amsterdam very early in the morning (5:30 am) and have an early afternoon flight (1:25 pm local time) to New York’s JFK airport. I arrive in New York at 3:25 pm. And then back to Nashville on an 8:30 pm flight.