Saturday, January 17, 2015

Africa

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Surprise surprise, suddenly we go for one presentation of a newbie starting a business, at least I have no knowledge about him and we say yes let's give this individual a chance.Given the fact that I have never ever climbed anything into thin air and all of a sudden a mountain in some other country with Ebola scare to the maximum, do I need to give a second thought??? nope, we sign up papers and I know with the first payment down that we are climbing Kilimanjaro.
Since this was first event for business, everything was new for the organizers and for us too. We were in ok shape but never did event specific special training, just some hikes here and there which we would do under normal weekend activities. All our teammates were experienced people in climbing snow mountains and having many other experiences under their belt. Did all possible vaccinations, paper works and all gear collection and ready to board flight.

We did 6 day Machame route

Basic Guideline:-
Day1:- Machame gate to Machame camp (3000m)
Day2:- Machame camp to Shira camp (3850m)
Day3:- Shira camp to Lava Tower (4600m) to Barranco Camp (3950m)
Day4:- Barranco camp to Barranco wall (4350m) karanga valley to Barafu camp (4600m)
Day5:- Barafu camp to Uhuru Peak (5896m) to Maweka camp (3100m)
Day6:- Maweka camp (3100m) to Maweka Gate (1500m)

Well had heard the fact that mountain creates its own weather and seriously experienced it first hand with torrential rains, thunderstorms, lightning, snowfall, hail storm in winds, humid warm weather, per say all of it and enjoyed it. It was an experience worth taking.
It's a compulsory guided walk as it helps support country's economy and the porters, cooks, guides do an amazing job going up and down frequently this high up. Well some of them did a job of lifting an individual taking to peak and bringing down from peak to the base camp, helping out when needed that's how amazing they are.
Besides, first hand saw people who are used to climbing mountains can also get into altitude effects and need stronger medicines to go on and recovery medicines to reduce leg pain later on. As far altitude is concerned one can be fine one time but not so fine the other time. That's how it is.
Even after walking 38 some miles on this terrain never had any kind of pain per say. It was so fine that enjoyed bumpy safari after ending this and did half marathon after returning back the very next weekend.

With snow covered peaks and valleys, standing on and looking around with hail storm hitting you, there was an unspoken silence everywhere. Although one could hear the sound of wind, there was that silence in the darkness of night, ( so far you were just imagining but now actually experiencing ) how would you feel into thin air when there is nothing around you but mountains, an experience worth taking.

Enjoy some Glimpses 

Every individual creates his/her own footprint on this much traversed path and creates his/her own experience because for you everything from people, weather, circumstances, every single thing is going to be different. Unfortunately happened to break one camera,  it just fell on rock couldn't help it, my bad. Met many individuals some were really awesome, some became friends forever, some were 'forget people' category of individuals, only one thing could be worst when based on hearsay some individuals form opinions and treat an individual based on those, so far used to think only women used to get crown for gossiping but some men are worst gossipers.

The first site of African village reminded of some part of India with red soil and thatched roofs and truck shops and special "tapari's" (just some side small food/ tea stalls). The warmth of the place and the warmth of the people felt familiar and yet different. Stroll in the market with fruit stalls, making and eating plantain soup, vegetables made very similar to that of Indian taste, the Masai's, their typical dressing style all was familiar yet different. 

Watching vast planes and freely roaming countless animals felt like one big open zoo. Sad part was to see poacher killing of elephant (seemed like it had recently happened as there was lot of freshness in the corpse) and countless vultures trying to feast on fresh kill, another one was some safari driver chasing Lion cubs in no go zone just so that tourists can get closeup (that's kind of sickening thing for tourists to demand and the driver to do it). Hyenas roaming around your tent at night was a cool thing ( they really make laughing sound) and every time it would happen the guards would give torch signal to each other, the stargazing in the middle of the night, sunset in Serengeti, sounds of animals after you sleep in the darkness of night and when you wake up, all were the moments to remember.
Well given that I love animals in their natural habitat, it was a treat, no ring masters and no zoo feeders, they are as free as they can be. Watching the elephants do some ritual for the family member
they had lost, protecting their newborns and scanning surroundings for danger, elders leading the pack and keeping a watchful eye on things, alert still enjoying showed how close they are as a group. 

Sometimes one remembers the smell and sound of the place so well that memory can re-create it for you whenever you want it. Yes after watching the shows on national geographic and discovery channels we wanted to witness this for a long time and it happened, well not exactly as how we would do otherwise but still.

So far most of our trips (as simple as visiting national parks & hiking there or visiting Greece etc) or experiences are led by us hence when you feel limited by under someone, its kind of different. Still we managed to create our own experiences here. Some of them would be visiting the vast field of flamingos by the lake side & one of the best experience was going hiking in this terrain filled with all possible animals with ranger having gun in hands (wow you can not even imagine unless you do it, how you feel about it). Yes we did it!!

Overall Africa is  a beautiful place close to home, local peoples are really nice and warm. It's a place worth visiting!

I think sometimes travel or doing adventures is about giving chance to different individuals and create your own experience.