Saturday - January 20, 2001
After a long flight into Kilimanjaro, then a two hour drive to their first camp, the group arrived safely on Friday evening. On Saturday, they did some preliminary hiking and prepared for their climb. They will leave first thing Sunday morning to start the real hike!
Sunday - January 21, 2001
On the fifth day the trip, Jimmy DeVaney's luggage arrived from Amsterdam -- just in time to pack for the 90 minute four-wheel drive trip to the city of Londorossi where the trail starts.

We met our 30 porters, cooks & guides. We all stood back in amazement as the porters lifted massive loads of baggage and headed up the trail.

We hiked for about 1 1/2 hours through the rainforest. The trail was muddy and overgrown -- making efficient use of poles tough. Especially for Jimmy DeVaney & Mitchell Brannen who have a grand total of one pole between them. Coincidentally, Mitch was the first one to fall. Bob Goddard fell a little bit later, but he was keeping Bill from falling.

Lunch was served in a small trail side clearing. After ham & cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, we continued on our way.

After awhile, the porters & cooks passed us on the trail again.

We started at 7,500 feet above sea level we finished the day at around 8,900 feet. We just have 10,000 more feet to go.

Billy gets the perseverance award for having led the charge all day in spite of a bum ankle. (Ankle is still questionable but is doing a little better.)

The most welcome site of the day came when we passed over the little rise and we saw that the camp was set up for us at the end.

We've unpacked, and we've set up, we're playing cards, listening to music and reading.

Tomorrow we continue our hike through the rainforest up toward the crest of the Shira ridge -- the site of the first volcanic eruption which formed Kilimanjaro. We are optimistic that we will pass this without another eruption.

Monday - January 22, 2001
Today we came through the rainforest and climbed the Shira Ridge. Just before lunch we reached our day's goal of the Shira Plateau. We had a spectacular view of the mountain.

At about 4:00 we arrived at Camp 2 which is about 11,500 feet. We set up camp and the rains came in.

Everyone is doing well, and we are excited about tomorrow's climb.

Tuesday - January 23, 2001
Enjoyed a beautiful sunrise and a delicious breakfast (French toast, sausage). After breakfast, we hiked for about 3 hours to the Fischer Camp (elevation 12,300 feet).

After lunch we relaxed around camp - wrote in journals, read & slept.

We took an afternoon hike of about 200-300 feet up the mountain to help get acclimatized for tonight. On the hike, we saw some plaques dedicated to Scott Fisher (he helped to design this route up the mountain and later died on Mount Everest).

After another fantastic dinner, we were able to relax, play cards, etc. We've also been able to enjoy a perfect view of the stars.

Late in the evening, we had some discussions about the strange dreams several of us have had as a result of the altitude - otherwise, we are doing well.

Wednesday - January 24, 2001
Last night in camp, Russell set his coat on fire with a candle. Fortunately, he was able to quickly put out the fire and he is safe and uninjured.

This morning, it was raining on and off for much of our hike. As we got closer to the Lava Tower camp (elevation approximately 14,500 feet) it started to snow. There has been a dramatic change in scenery; it looks like the surface of the moon - rocks everywhere, no greenery.

We are now starting to realize how high we are - not only are we looking down on the clouds, but we also appreciate oxygen a little more! We are all feeling fine, our appetites haven't suffered, and we are not having any physical problems. However, knowing how difficult it can be to breathe, we carefully decide what activities we really want to do! For that reason, some of us hiked around the Lava Tower while the others stayed at camp and played cards.

Spirits are high and we are looking forward to following our guide, Victor, to the summit. Apparently Mitchell is aspiring to be a co-guide, because he has been following so close behind Victor that he could be arrested for tailgating!

Thursday - January 25, 2001
After a nice, short trip today we arrived at Arrow Glacier camp (approximately 16,000 feet). The weather has been good and we are all feeling well.

Tomorrow is a huge day - we will hike for about nine hours as we attempt to ascend to the Summit Crater camp. We are all anticipating that we will do fine, but will spend the rest of the night resting up for it.

Saturday - January 27, 2001

We made it! At 12:13 pm Tanzanian, we summited Mt. Kilimanjaro after 2 failed attempts and 5 long hours. The weather has deteriorated and we must leave the summit quickly.

We received 2' feet of snow last night and have been through several heavy snow storms. Everyone is well and in good spirits but very tired.

We will make a quick descent from Uhuru summit (19,340') to Mweka Camp at 10,500'.

Sunday - January 28, 2001

Making it to the summit was a challenge for us all. We climbed within 200 feet summit after two attempts and realized we had to take another route.

Our stay at the summit was brief. It took us approximately 10 hours to descend to camp after leaving the summit. This morning we got an early start and hiked down the mountain to the trial head.

After a fast paced descent and a 15,000' drop in elevation, we are completely exhausted.

Everyone made it safely and we are now at a safari tent lodge on the Serengeti. It's time for a little wild game viewing!