Ascent to Mount Meru-Mariakamba Hut on 2006-01-15

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:ranger Godfrey - guide Yoaquim and porters took a more direct route
Date:Sunday, January 15, 2006
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Mount Meru - Mariakamba Hut
    Elevation:8248 ft / 2513 m

Ascent Trip Report

DAY #1

I will leave the outpost lodge this AM for the Mt Meru climb and I'll return on the 18th - I took care of the gear that I'm leaving behind with the lodge.

8h00 hrs - LISA arrived with her crew, Yoaquim the guide, Prosper the cook, and the driver who drove us to the arusha nat park gate. Lisa registered/payed for my climb - very expensive fees (4 days at 60$/d), this included 2 porters and a ranger, Godfrey, equiped with a rifle for safety reasons. You are in a wildlife park. I had to sign in c/w with my home address and passport #.

10h00 hrs - We drove to the MOMELLA GATE where we repeated the signing procedure. Yoaquim instructed the ranger, Godfrey, to start out and guide me up to the hut, he would stay back to wait for the two porters to ensure all of the gear is looked after. He and the porters would take a more direct to the hut and arrive there before us.

The MERU CRATER (last erupted 250 yrs ago) is U shaped, the open side being on the east side and the summit on the W side of the rim. The ash cone is the center of the U.

The TRAIL, a rough dirt road for 4 by 4's, winds its way up on a NW direction on a easy/mod grade, mostly in a dense tropical vegetation with moss covered trees. You walk under a fig tree arch - a fig tree is a vine that climbs up and smothers the tree. There are no views until you get to the open side of the crater as you near the hut - the crater view is most impressive, as is the view to the east of KILIMANJARO.

I gave most of my lunch that Lisa gave me to Godfrey, at our lunch break at maio falls picnic area. Godfrey sets a nice comfortable pace, I sweated a lot cause of the heat, drank a lot of water but no huffing & puffing.

We saw a lot of WILDLIFE today - buffalo, zebra, giraffe, bushbuck, worthog, dik-dik, monkeys (white colobast & blue monkey),touque bird (huge with red wings), huge red ants nesting in trees. GODFREY is a very intelligent, humble, helpfull and respectfull young man. He is 24 yrs old and is planning to marry this fall. He knew his park, the vegetation and the animals, very informative and pleasant company.

15hoo hrs - Arrived MARIAKAMBA HUT located in green site with super view of kili to the east. A large 6 building complex, solar power, ranger station, kitchen, toilets, 3 very clean bunkhouses mostly empty. I was alone in a 2 bunk (4 person) room. About 12 other hikers in camp - german, dutch & spanish. The locals dont mix or sleep with the hikers, they have their own area.

After settling in Joaquim brought me a pan of HOT WATER for washing, and set up a SNACK TABLE in the dining area of the bunkhouse c/w table cloth, china & utensils - tea, coffee, milk, juice, chocolate, cookies & popcorn. Joaquim confirmed what Lisa had told me "that all drinking water will be boiled".

A GIRAFFE walked up the side of the camp, eating just the top of the lush vegetation's new growth. It wasn't bothered by the gawking photo seekers. Apparently this is a daily occurrence.

18h00 hrs - I was SERVED DINNER by Joaquim & Prosper, as were the other hikers by their own people. However we all had the same - pea soup, pasta, with meat sauce, veggies & fruit. All of the different oufitters cook together as a family, which I think is smart, they save a lot of money. Joaquim and Prosper were there at your beckoning call, running back and forth, they couldn't do enough for you. I had 5 people looking after my every need ! ! which I normally do myself ! ! I am not used to servant-like service and I didn't feel comfortable with this royal treatment. I don't like it, however I must admit, its nice. This "after a hike" service is a daily occurrence.
The 2 porters stay away and there is no personal contact, in fact I rarely saw them, not like the others. Perhaps its because the porters are provided by the park and they are not Lisa's people. Like a unionized type worker, they are assigned to a job and have no personal contact with Lisa's people. However the same can be said for Godfrey.

20h00 hrs - Tucked in my bag.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3248 ft / 989 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3248 ft / 989 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Route:from momella gate/mariakamba hut, day #1
    Start Trailhead:arusha lodge to arusha nat park's momella gate  5000 ft / 1524 m
Descent Statistics
    End Trailhead:mariakamba hut at NE corner of crater  8248 ft / 2513 m

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