March 5, 2012
All members returned to the US yesterday afternoon. Flights home are long – at least 2 legs in the 8-9 hour range. They’re tough but maybe they’re a good thing. We had time to catch up on sleep and time to reflect on the previous two weeks. I was fortunate to have a team of 12 very prepared, very strong, very motivated and very friendly climbers. They demonstrated all those attributes daily. From the moment we started the climb, I knew Sue and I would be shaking hands with each one of them on the summit. Even a summit day which brought perhaps 10 cm of snow and then stiff breezes all along the crater rim, did nothing to slow or deter even one of the team. Their strength, resolve and cooperation never wavered. What a team.
Safari was simply a continuation of the teamwork on the mountain. We drove out to Ngorongoro because everyone wanted to see this part of the country at ‘ground level’. The good times simply continued right to the Crater. Beers en route, shopping and gin and tonics at the Crater kept the smiles coming. We were at the late end of the season and we got rain each night on safari but that only set us up for some great game viewing. The Crater was green and we saw pretty much everything. Olduvai Gorge, a Masaai Village stop and bumpy dirt roads put us in position to hopefully get good views of the migration. The wildebeest had been hanging up in the Serengeti later than normal because there hadn’t been enough rain. I was sweating it because we’d planned to stay in the Ndutu area to catch the migration. We had a long game drive planned for the next day. Wildebeest and cats were the goal. Olotu, one of our guides/drivers, asked me how many wildebeest I’d like to see that day. ‘Half a million’ was my response.
We drove northwest through Ndutu for about an hour before coming upon one of the more amazing sights I have seen. Wildebeest and their calves, in lines, for miles. Olotu killed the engine on the stretch Land Cruiser as we started taking pictures. ‘Start counting’ was all he said. 500,000 wildebeest later, I quit counting.
Thanks to my team members for trusting IMG to put their trip together. I’ll be traveling with Dan, Meribeth, Jay, Cindy, Ann, Emily, Bill, Linda, Rick, Carly, Brett, Bonnie and Sue before long.