A Travellerspoint blog

February 2014

El paso half marathon

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Our first run in our new hometown is complete! We just finished the El Paso half marathon. I guess it is true, you don't really need to train for the half marathon! Unless you count a hike to Kilimanjaro as training. I'm so proud of Curt. I guess the city of El Paso was not as optimistic about its runners.
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Posted by ErinDriver 11:07 Comments (0)

Hiking in the Sandia Mountains

17 February 2014

overcast 70 °F

Sandia mountains

Sandia mountains


Well, sort of hiking, more like hiking at Emma's speed and distance. The Sandia Mountains have a lot of hiking trails but the Boundary Loop Trail was to be the easiest four mile loop. With Emma we didn't make it that far but did have a nice little walk before heading back to El Paso.
Emma hiking

Emma hiking


Emma and I hiking

Emma and I hiking


Curt and Emma at the start of the trail

Curt and Emma at the start of the trail

Posted by ErinDriver 18:25 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Food Tour of Albuquerque

16 February 2014

overcast 65 °F

Food Tour New Mexico offers a great tour called the Nob Hill Nibble. Seven people, 5 locals and us, went on the tour this afternoon.
Ahi Tuna

Ahi Tuna


First stop was Yonni's for the appetizer of seared Ahi Tuna with caper sauce a wasabi. The restaurant is Greek and Mediterranean and even though raw fish wouldn't be my first choice the flavors were good and the guide advised a wine that paired well with it.
Cochinita de Pibil Tacos

Cochinita de Pibil Tacos


Next stop was Zacateca's Taco and Tequila where we had.....tacos and tequila :) The tacos more specifically called Cochinita de Pibil Tacos and were pulled pork with tomatillo-chipotle salsa. Of course you have to have a margarita and the recommendation was one with cucumber and agave sauce.

A pit stop was made at a vinegar and oil specialty shop to taste test and ultimately buy a garlic and parmesan oil.
Penne bolognese

Penne bolognese


Final meal stop was at Scalo for penne Bolognese which was a ragout of slow-cooked veal, pork and beef, mirepoix, tomato and wine sauce. The waiter said the recipe has been used since the opening of the restaurant 30 years ago this month.
Limonata

Limonata


brownie

brownie


Lastly for dessert and coffee was Limonata and a brownie that was 67% cacoa.
Old Town alley

Old Town alley


chili wreath

chili wreath


Curt and Emma in Old Town

Curt and Emma in Old Town


The tour had us all filled up so we grabbed Emma from the hotel and headed downtown. She was a champ while we did some window shopping around town and stopped for a margarita. This one was a wine margarita but surprisingly good.
me and Emma having a drink

me and Emma having a drink


sun setting on chapel

sun setting on chapel

Posted by ErinDriver 19:08 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bike tour of albuquerque

15 February 2014

sunny 65 °F

Routes bike shop in Albuquerque rents bikes but also hosts a bike tour. That tour was our mission for today. 13 of us took off on all varieties of rented bikes and first hit up the old downtown.
downtown Albuquerque

downtown Albuquerque


It looked worthy of a later visit to investigate the shops and restaurants. At one of the churches our guide pointed out a carving in to a tree that was alive up until a wind storm in 2011.
tree carving

tree carving


tree carving2

tree carving2


Most of the rest of the ride was on a bike path along the Rio Grande.
Rio Grande

Rio Grande


Us with Rio Grande

Us with Rio Grande


The Rio Grande Nature Center made a nice pit stop for bathrooms and to view the turtles, Canadian geese and ducks that call the place home.
Rio Grande Nature Center

Rio Grande Nature Center


The main destination was Casa Rondena winery for wine tasting. The place was adorable even in the winter when all the vines were dead. We got to sample 7 wines and then hop back on our bikes :)
Casa Rondena Winery

Casa Rondena Winery


bike parking

bike parking


winery

winery


Next we stopped at Los Poblanos Ranch which is a bed and breakfast and working farm. An energy bar was given to each of us and unfortunately someone who was allergic to peanuts ate one and in the end had an ambulance called to pick him up.
farm goats

farm goats


Los Pablanos

Los Pablanos


The rest of us waited for the ambulance and then made our way back to the bike shop.
El Pinto's

El Pinto's


By this time Curt and I were starving so we went straight to El Pinto Restaurant on 4th Street. THe place is huge and had probably the best tacos I have ever had and REALLY good margaritas!

Posted by ErinDriver 19:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Valentines in new mexico

Curt I figured out that we have been together for 5 out of 9 valentines days. This year I got a four day weekend so we drove four hours to Albuquerque. There was very little to look at on the whole drive but when we got here at about 5 one of the prettiest sunsets I have ever seen was starting.
Dinner was at brickyard pizza in a college area. The breadsticks were great but the marinara was a bit spicy. 90_03AFCC372219AC6817361451D7651EAF.jpg
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Posted by ErinDriver 19:33 Comments (0)

Final Day in Tanzania

6 February 2014

sunny

traffic circle in town

traffic circle in town


A few extra tourist hours were stolen today since our flight doesn't leave until 2150. Monica asked if the Climb Kili driver would take us to town. Will, Monica, Curt and I went to an ATM to get cash and then to the Cultural Heritage Center. I was very touristy with an Indian guy in charge of the place that had a huge art museum and another section with every kind of souvenir you would want. The art gallery was the largest in Africa and had some REALLY beautiful and REALLY expensive paintings. It was a little rich for our blood so we got a ride back to the SG Resort. We hit the gas station for snacks and spent the rest of the afternoon in the patio area chatting and snacking.
elephant fountain

elephant fountain


art museum

art museum


castle lager

castle lager

Posted by ErinDriver 18:59 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 8: Mweka Camp to Finish

5 February 2014

sunny 70 °F

the hiking group

the hiking group


We asked to wake up at 0700 but I think all of us were up by 0630 anyway so we had breakfast at the normal time and said goodbye to our tents. Even the porters and guides were excited that today is shower day! A beautiful three hour hike through the rain forest had us to the finish. There were a few tears at the end and a celebration including singing and dancing by the guides and porters.
last view of mountain

last view of mountain


the final stretch

the final stretch


celebrating the finish

celebrating the finish


porters celebrating for us

porters celebrating for us


We were also pleasantly surprised by our lunch fiest of fried fish and chicken, noodles, rice, potatoes, carrots, green beans, cucumber and pineapple. My prayers were answered by the bottles of coke waiting at the lunch table.
lunch fiest

lunch fiest


We still have a 2 hour drive back to Arusha and the SG resort but it passed pretty quickly. We had a short wait in the town while on of the guides ran an errand. I had to snag a picture of this woman walking with one shoe on her head. What would be the reason for that?
lady with shoe on her head

lady with shoe on her head


Back at the hotel I'm sure the hot water heater was working overtime as we all luxuriated in our showers. After reorganizing all our gear and trying to find clean clothes we met the rest of the group for dinner in the resort dining room.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:46 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 7: Baraful to SUMMIT to Mweka Camp

4 February 2014

all seasons in one day

View from top of Africa

View from top of Africa


What a horrible day! Our kike to the summit started yesterday at 11:30 in the evening. The hike is down this way so that you will hit the summit as the sun is coming up by walking all night with a headlamp. Unfortunately the altitude was not good to my body and I was vomiting within the first hour. Curt wasn't doing so hot either claiming later he was hallucinating. In the end we split from the other four in our group so we could go slower and stop for vomiting every 20-30 minutes. Good Love and Chi Chi became our guides and we would never have made it without their encouragement. Poley, Poley is the way to say Slowly, Slowly in Swahili and we will never forget those words being repeated to us over and over again. We hit Stella point as the sun was coming up and another 45 minutes or so later the summit.
Stella Point sign

Stella Point sign


Stella Point View

Stella Point View


sunrise

sunrise


WE MADE IT!

WE MADE IT!


Top of Africa sign

Top of Africa sign


snow cap on mountain

snow cap on mountain


Good Love, us and Chi Chi

Good Love, us and Chi Chi


A few minutes are spent at the summit, basically in line to get your picture with the sign and you have to start the horrible hike back down. It took us 7 hours to get to the summit and 3 hours to get down. The way down has a lot of segments over loose rock and can be very slippery. By the time we got back to camp we had about 1 hour to rest before lunch. After all of those hours hiking our lunch was a bit disappointing. We had an onion sandwich, French toast with no syrup and of course soup.
taking off in the snow

taking off in the snow


Curt pretending to be happy

Curt pretending to be happy


trail later the same day

trail later the same day


The good news is that we made it to the summit despite the altitude effects on our bodies. The bad news is that we still had a four hour hike in front of us to get to the next camp. It was snowing/sleeting a lunch again today and finally they couldn't wait any longer and we had to start walking. Atleast one hour of the four was through the snow but relatively flat. As we descended we ended up in mud and then finally back to the rain forest and Mweka Camp. For dinner we got ugali which is a Tanzanian dish sort of like grits they mix with meat sauce, etc. We had rice and meat sauce to go along with it. We all were eager to hit our tents for some rest after the extremely long day. Most of us feel we can attribute part of our success today to the medium fat spread we put on everything during our meals. In America this is better known as butter.
medium fat spread

medium fat spread

Posted by ErinDriver 17:57 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 6: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

3 February 2014

overcast 25 °F

the trail

the trail


Today the egg triangles have peppers and onions! I think everyone is more tired today as we set off uphill again. The route is kind of ugly and short, only three hours. A lot of the route is just along rocks or what look like huge piles of shale rock. At Barafu camp we have lunch of potato stew, pancakes, pineapple and bread. Our assignment is to rest for the afternoon because tonight at 2230 we must wake to start our hike to the summit at 2230. I had a headache when we got to camp today at 15,000 feet but it resolved with rest and Naproxen. So there we were at 1030 at night waking up to have porridge and put on all our coats, gloves and hats to start walking up and up and up for 6 hours to the summit.
trail view for today

trail view for today


flat rocks along the trail

flat rocks along the trail


snow at lunch again

snow at lunch again

Posted by ErinDriver 17:21 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 5: Barranco to Karanga Camp

2 February 2014

Superbowl Sunday! Instead of watching Denver and Seattle we hiked for 4 hours. Down in to Barranco Valley and then up, up, up the Barranco Wall was our first feat for the day. This was literally climbing up the rocks. After a break at the top of the wall we continued on a series of ups and downs to camp. At Karanga camp we had to wait awhile for lunch but were pleasantly surprised with French fries, chicken, watermelon, coleslaw and dried banana. After eating we started playing cards and the snow and hail also started. The ground was covered in white and our tent almost fell over on us. By dinner the sun was shining again and we had vege soup, rice with beef and vege sauce and bread with watermelon for dessert. We all went to bed a bit anxious since tomorrow night starts our summit hopes.
Curt and Emanuel climbing the wall

Curt and Emanuel climbing the wall


Will taking a break

Will taking a break


view from top of barranco wall

view from top of barranco wall


trail way below

trail way below


top of barranco wall

top of barranco wall


Monicas rain pants

Monicas rain pants


Karanga valley trail

Karanga valley trail


bad weather outside

bad weather outside


sleeting

sleeting


lunchtime view of tent

lunchtime view of tent


Karanga camp

Karanga camp


Karanga camp site

Karanga camp site


dinnertime view out of tent

dinnertime view out of tent


condiments

condiments


sunset

sunset

Posted by ErinDriver 14:27 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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