Saturday, March 26, 2011

March (Travel) Madness: Lake Chala

No sooner had we returned from Kenya that we were packing up the car again for a weekend of camping.  And not just any old camping, first-time camping with a toddler.  So many families in Arusha seemed to do it with such ease and frequency, how hard could it really be we figured.  Maybe Millie would surprise us with an intrinsic outdoorsy ease, you know, like her Colorado birth certificate would imply.  All we had to do was secure a tent and have a foam pad custom made so sleeping would be exponentially comfy.

Rather than go big as we typically do (have baby, promptly move to Africa), we eased our toes in slowly by opting for one night and going with some highly seasoned family campers to the gorgeous Lake Chala right on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. 

It was a beautiful setting.  The campsite was about a 30 min hike up the steep crater wall from the lake shore and we managed with six children eight years and under, eight adults, fishing poles and bottomless tubes of Pringles (yes, you can get Pringles here!).  Our co-campers were camping savants and managed to serve chicken tikka massala for dinner that night, get kids excited about washing dishes and wax lyrical about this thing called 'the environment' (they all work for The Nature Conservancy).  All we did was bring lousy bagels and goldfish from Nairobi (the eldest kid, upon seeing the bagels, said 'awesome, donuts!' his mom was none too happy that one year out of America made him forget what a bagel was!).
Camping savant, Lisa, who carried her 3 yr old up and down these rocky walls 8x over the weekend!  A week after this photo was taken, she'd be putting all that hard work to good use by climbing Mt. Meru with me and two others

Then it was nightfall and rather than adhere to a strict bedtime schedule for Millie we decided to just let her stay up until she could take it no more.  That was about 8 o'clock.  And rather than collapse in the tent within minutes into a deep slumber that would allow us parents to sneak back out and enjoy some adult beverages at the campsite bar (that's right, a bar!), she tossed and turned her various appendages into our faces for about an hour.  I think Roger and I fell asleep before she did.  The night pretty much continued like that every couple of hours.  Restless night notwithstanding, it was a very fun trip.  We even managed to get an all-smiling family picture out of the deal!


Someone is growing!

August 2009

March 2011

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