Wednesday, September 20
Left the lodge early after skipping breakfast to call all my boys. They were worried but very proud...im a lucky mom. Long drive to the next camp.
Camp is deep within Maasai country in the Ngorongoro conservation area, rife with wild animals and many predators. We met the Chief, who had us shown a traditional dance by members of his tribe and explained some cultural distinctions. Very interesting.
The camp is gorgeous, even nicer than Itikoni. As usual, the people are who make it. Our safari guides are Ole, who i call The Rock, and Dennis, who i call Don Cheadle. Thank God they all have a sense of humor! I am thoroughly enjoying being with these wonderful Tanzanians - what an honor it is to be with them.
We gather for wine and card playing with lots of competition and laughter. So much fun. We are all exhausted. Today we saw giraffes, elephants. The best part? Those beautiful young children who run to the road to wave at us.
Lovely dinner with lively conversation, discussing global politics. I was terrified walking the 30 feet back to my tent in the dark. All the skulls and bones lying around are a testament to the number of lions and cheetahs and leopards that abound here at night. They call the gazelles "cheetah chips." Totally not funny in the dark.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Woke at 6 to shower from a 10 gallon bucket hung over the tent. A storm came in last night, dropping the temp 30 degrees. Quite cold. Breakfast lovely as usual.
Headed down into the crater today. Wow...hyenas, elephants, giraffes, zebras, baboons, jackals, wildebeest, hartebeast, two kinds of gazelles, hippos and cape buffalo. But the favorite, of course, were the lions. I had to keep reminding myself that i was in africa and these were wild animals. What a thrill!
Afterward, we headed for the Chief's house, or Boma. He showed us around, how the keep animals, how they cook food, etc. Very interesting.
Another incredible day, our last full one. Dinner tonight was tough. I asked everyone to share what the trip meant to them. It was very emotional. For me, not just the climb but the people. My connection to Jared and Scott was extra special, but I have strong feelings for everyone. Saying goodbye in the morning will be tough.
Friday, September 22
Very hard to say goodbye. Always is for me. I'll see Josh and Jared on the plane and we split in Amsterdam. Jared is going to help my son figure out housing abroad and he already knows he'll see Scott and Jeff in Madison in a few weeks. Stephanie and Joseph head back to South Carolina after the Serengeti and I hope I see them again. Jeff is the best and most wonderful storyteller ever and Scott is the sweetest Midwestern guy you'll ever meet. We talked about meeting up for sections of the PCT, others for a trek into Nepal.
And off we went, completely different than when we arrived.