Brian Keating proudly supports Children in the Wilderness, a non-profit organization that facilitates sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.
Thank you so much for your generous donation of Celestron Binoculars to the Children In The Wilderness Programme which we received from our Hwange Camps recently. Your note indicated that you would like these binoculars to be given to a child on the CITW programme. We work with eight different schools in Hwange, Lukosi, Dete & Victoria Falls (approximately 2815 children) and I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s difficult to try and single out one student over & above the rest, however one of our programmes has included the implementation of Eco Clubs at the schools we work with. We feel these binoculars would be perfect to donate to a deserving school’s Eco Club so that a group of eco-conscious children can share the benefit of your fabulous gift. Thank you so much for considering CITW, we really do appreciate your contribution and have no doubt they will bring many hours of joy & enlightenment to the children that are lucky enough to receive them.
The Calgary Health Trust Kilimanjaro Climb: A total SUCCESS !
We awoke at 11 PM for “breakfast” last night after a fitful few hours of trying to sleep, to find it snowing! Fortunately by the time we headed out to begin the climb at midnight, the stars were out and the near-full moon illuminated the white landscape so much that we didn’t have to use our headlamps, until the moon set at 3:30 AM. We summited at 7:30 AM with all 26 of the Calgary Health Trust fund raising participants! 100% success like this is rare on the mountain, but because we had spent 7 days acclimatizing to the high altitude by hiking and camping, our bodies successfully adapted. It was certainly challenging: ice covered rocks, high winds and -15C temperatures made for a tricky ascent. Tonight we will all sleep well.
We did an equipment test tonight, here at Camp 4 at a place called Karanga, assembling and wearing our summit gear. We then hiked for a short distance until nightfall, and returned by headlamp. But the hike above our camp, located at 4,100 meters, was simply stunning, with the setting sun glistening on the tops of clouds far below us. It was a gift of absolute beauty, and a wonderful end to a fantastic day.
Here is a shore excerpt from my journal:
“We departed early from Camp 3 to avoid the onslaught of porters, which would have made this trail very dangerous. We ascended up the Barranco Wall, a very steep series of narrow, single track switchbacks and tricky rocky sections with some fantastic exposure. This was all enjoyed under a solid blue sky and a backdrop of a dramatic snowy Kilimanjaro mountain, glaciers glimmering in the morning light. A bird highlight: a sighting of a Lammerguyer, the Bearded vulture! We were all at our next camp by 1 PM to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Tomorrow night, we begin the big climb.”
This was a mom and youngster, colobus monkey, from the same group I photographed just before we arrived into camp 1 in the forest. They are incredibly unique primates because of their digestive system: they feed on leaves! The problem is, leaves are full of toxins, but the colobus has worked a way around that issue. They have a stomach similar to a cow, allowing for bacteria to neutralize the toxins and extract the nutrients!
We had a very difficult day yesterday, a day that challenged all of us. After I sent you the first photo of the colobus, the sky literally opened up. For the next hour and a half of hiking, rain pelted down, often mixed with hail pellets, and often very hard. The trail turned from the trickle, pictured here, into a torrent. Small waterfalls flowed onto the trail, swelling our route with icy, fast flowing muddy rainwater. By the time we got to Camp 2, we were cold, exhausted, and in need of a good lunch. The expedition staff were incredibly efficient, and soon after we had arrived we were eating in the huge dome tent, starting with hot drinks and soup. Later, after a much needed rest, dinner was concluded with an amazing birthday celebration for one of the climbers that will not ever be forgotten. The delivery of a chocolate cake was done with classic African ceremony and joy. Later, when we set off to our tents for our much needed rest, the sky cleared. Under the light of a 1/4 moon, we enjoyed an un obstructed view of Kilimanjaro complete with its summit icecap! When we awoke today, we had a solid blue sky start as we set off towards Camp 3.