Posted by: 3peaks09 | 21 January, 2009

Two down, one to go!

Thank you for your patience and understanding for not having heard from us for a few days! We are grateful that Laura knows these mountains well and was able to keep you posted on our progress despite not having received any updates from us (altitude apparently affects memory too?). Anyway, we are back in Arusha after our Mt. Meru (“Yes We Did!”) summit, and are enjoying a few days of rest before Kilimanjaro.

We left at 2:00 on Tuesday morning from the Saddle Hut (3,570 m/11,712 ft) for our summit attempt. Skies were clear, beautiful, and full of stars as we made our way up the trail. The first 4 hours consisted of switchbacks, headlamps, and some minor rock scrambling. The trail eventually straightened out and began to follow the ridge overlooking the crater, which provided beautiful views of the sunrise and Mt. Kilimanjaro to the northeast.

We had been warned about Mt. Meru’s 13 false summits, but quickly realized how difficult it can be to think you are “almost there” 13 times before actually seeing the summit flag! A few girls felt sub-par due to altitude, lack of sleep, or otherwise, yet pressed on into the morning. The weather was wonderful, for which we were especially grateful after our cloudy/windy summit of Mt. Kenya. This provided for great photo opportunities and a few minutes to take a brief nap before heading down. 

By the time the team left the summit to head back down to Saddle Hut for breakfast, most girls were both hungry and tired, and willing to hike at a rather “brisk” pace. For many, this meant running downhill for nearly 3,300 ft.

Upon arrival at Saddle Hut, we dined, rested shortly, and carried on downhill to Miriakamba Hut. This stretch of the journey was when the weather turned for the worst. As Laura mentioned in the last blog, rain graced us with a good shower – which we actually needed rather badly after several days of (as one girl described it) walking on a stairmaster. Needless to say, we all threw on our raingear but most ended up being just as wet from sweat by the time we all reached the hut.

Upon arrival at Miriakamba, we tried our best to dry off, ate a delicious dinner, and immediately went to bed. The next day, we had a short hike down from Miriakamba to the gate, where we were greeted by the girls from the School of St. Jude and a few bottles of celebratory champagne. The girls joined us for a game drive around Mt. Meru and Arusha National Park, after which we dropped them off at school and headed back to the hotel.

Unfortunately, a terrible accident on the road to Arusha had traffic backed up and we were forced to turn around and take a bit of a detour. Our alternate route took us down a 4WD road through some small villages at the foothills of Mt. Meru. To make a long story short, one of the Land Rovers broke down on the narrow, one lane road, and 5 girls from the team ended up watching a very “technical” traffic control operation. At the end of the operation, we all felt lucky that we didn’t have to witness a passing truck knock our vehicle into the river below, and were grateful when our “rescue vehicle” picked us up and promptly delivered us to the hotel.

The team is looking forward to two days of errands in town and activities with SIC. Two down, one to go!


Responses

  1. Thanks for all the news girls ; everyone is behind you and so proud of your achievements…
    Good Luck with Kili and ENJOY it….
    Charlotte xxx

  2. From Rhino HQ: Well done everyone! We are so impressed by your guts and determination. Having two big mountains safely under your belts will be great encouragement I am sure. Hope the weather stays good on Kili and enjoy the views! Much love from everyone at Save the Rhino

  3. Reading the blog and also Leah’s email, I was impressed at the rigorous climb and then the slippery slide down you had to undertake. That would have been enough…..and then the long,serious road trip back to Arusha – so happy to hear you are all safe and resting hopefully. Job Well Done by the women and crew!! We are thinking of you all and sending you lots of energy for the last climb up Kili. Blessings to you all!!!!!

  4. Good job on what sounded like a thrill ride from
    Cedar Point. Gretchen, I can’t wait to see all
    your pics and you. Have a great rest up and look back at a job well done! Love, Mom

  5. Congratulations Ali and the team – what a climb and descent. The hilly 17th hole on the golf course doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

    And Happy Birthday Ali.

    Lots of love
    AL, AP & Hamish

  6. Way to go on #2 Katty! woo hoo! us Denver ladies are missing you a ton! Hope that puffy coat is keeping you warm🙂
    xoxoxo
    Diana

  7. Hey noodle – I see everyone made it and hope hope the altitude sickness was better for you ! Keep it up xxx

  8. Brooke – Your Dad keeps us informed of your adventures. Climb high, climb safely, and we hope you meet the mountain guru at the peak and ask him “When will the stock market go back up?” Good Luck to the 2009 Team!


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