EXPEDITION AFRICA, ep. 2
Somehow I missed this episode on the History Channel, possibly because I had many important things happening June 7 when it was on the History Channel. I watched it today on "full epsiodes" of this show after I discovered I was behind an episode.
This episode starts on Day 6 at 2590 foot elevation and a temperature that rapidly gets up to 100 degrees. I learn that the expedition is traveling only about half of the total 950 miles from Bangoyo to Ujiji on foot. They will be moved, presumably by some vehicles across half of this total so they can finish in 30 days. The segments skipped will be the urban ones. They are the ones shown in dotted lines on the expedition's maps.
This expedition will make its only deviation from Stanley's route. They want "a bigger challenge" so they are going up over the Uluguru Mountains vs. Stanley's route around them.
Pasquale declares the expedition "overweight and with too many porters" so he sheds gear and that allows him to drop some porters before attempting this difficult segment. Remaining are 25 on the expedition moving forward. I counted maybe 12 porters, 2 hunters, and the 4 principals so that must include multiple cameramen and soundmen.
Kevin has declareed himself the watchdog for the porters. Pasquale sets a torrid uphill pace. Kevin says that Pasquale's ego is driving the ego, as no sane person would cause nimble porters to be too slow to keep up. Suddenly, one of the porters collapses. Kevin tends to him and gets him back on his feet, but Pasquale is taking no chances. He sent one porter back to get 3 more porters, 1 for replacement and two to carry the collapsed porter, who the 4 principals all agree will not be able to carry on. Mireya gets the line of the day: "You plan and plan and plan; then Africa happens to you." Mireya also says that Pasquale takes charge but makes mistakes which the others need to correct.
Pasquale dictates stopping to set up camp no later than 3pm so it can be complete before dark. This camp is at 4276 feet. That part of the Uluguru Mountains is noted for its fine mist making getting a fire started almost impossible.
Pasquale gets the line of this day: "going up the mountain is optional but coming down is mandatory." There is a somewhat steep 2000 foot climb ahead. Pasquale refers to the upcoming pace as a "Masai warrior pace."
The expedition is now in a 25 million year old "old forest", the oldest in Africa. They reach the summit at 6402 feet and find a beautiful view. The trail over the top become slippery and treacherous on the downslope. They set up camp but it is too damp for a fire. In the morning is no breakfast and no boiled water. Kevin is keeping a Journal for the Expedition (as a journalist, that seems appropriate). Pasquale states that all are cold, tired and hungry and "we need to go" in spite of that.
Problems going down the slopes continue until the Mkata River Flood Plain, supports large population of wildlife including hippopotami, water buffalo, wild dog, eland, elephant, giraffe, hartebeest, zebra, leopard, lion, impala and sable in Mikumi National Park. They wander into a Masai village tending goats, sheep and cows. There is dancing, including with 9 foot pythons.