Hello everyone, this is Ben calling in with the Carstensz Pyramid expedition, here at Camp #3 and we are doing wonderful. Everybody’s doing great, having a great time, healthy, happy, and getting ready for bed here. Just finished up dinner just a little bit ago, and we’re crawling in our sleeping bags. It’s a beautiful evening. We’ve got just incredible sky lit of stars up above us. We’re just kind of surrounded by hills here. We’ve kind of popped up out of the jungle now, and we’re up in kind of a highland meadow area, and so got nice views all around, and just a really beautiful camp. It’s definitely getting a little cooler (we’re up at about, getting close to 11,000 feet here) and can start to feel the altitude a little bit, but everybody’s doing great.
Today was an excellent day of hiking, for the most part we had great weather all day today, shaded in the jungle for the better part of the day, so it kept the heat down just a little bit. Very muddy trail today, but a lot of fun kind of sloshing around. We’ve all got these big, rubber boots on that come up to about our knees and that’s keeping our feet dry and warm, but tons of mud, tons of stream crossings, log crossings. Some of the logs have sort of makeshift handrails made out of other logs, and sticks and things, and vines, and some of them don’t. So there’s varying degrees of crossing rivers and streams on these logs but they can be pretty slippery, but everybody’s doing a great job of just taking their time and being safe going across a lot of these logs and streams.
Tomorrow we’re going to continue on, we’ll be out of the jungle now here for the rest of the trip, until we descend back down to the jungle, after we summit and come back down. But we’ll be up in this highland meadow for the next three more days until we get to base camp, before the climb.
Just a little bit about the porters and the people that are with us here. We’ve got the Dani tribe and the Muni tribe with us. And what’s interesting about these porters that are with us is it’s actually sort of their whole family. So the men get the jobs as the porters, and they bring along their wives and there are some kids with us as well, some very small kids actually, traipsing through the mud barefoot, all the way up here and doing great. They’re fun to be around. But the women actually end up doing most of the hard work it seems. Most of the loads are given to the women, and the men are carrying some loads, but definitely smaller loads than actually what the women are carrying. So it’s just kind of an interesting scene up here. We probably have around twenty porters and families that are up here, so it’s really kind of a traveling clan that’s with us up here, which is pretty neat. Pretty neat experience and they’ve all been very welcoming and nice to us along the way here.
So yeah, we just finished up dinner, we’re hanging out here and it’s just been an amazing day of just changing through the vegetation and sort of ecosystems as we come up through. Surprisingly there are not a lot of insects, not a lot of mammals, we’ve only really seen a few birds and spiders, and that’s about it. There just doesn’t seem to be that much, which makes it easy, not having to deal with mosquitoes, flies, or bugs of any kind really. So that’s been nice. But what a beautiful place, we really start to feel like we’re getting way out in the wilderness here, pretty far from Sugapa and many directions here, which is a great sort of wilderness experience up here. But we’re having a fun time, enjoying each other’s company and just having lots of laughs along the way. But yeah, three more days and we’ll be up at base camp.
Having a good time, and everyone misses everyone back home, but wants to say “hello” and we will talk to you soon. Bye for now!
Note: Don needed to leave the expedition to seek medical attention in Bali – he is doing well.