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Measurements and Climbing the Wall!


A man takes the temperature of water in a brook.
GIO Director, Tony Murphy, taking water temperature in stream near Baranco camp early in the morning.  Temperature was 5C.

Karanga camp, which is 10 m below Baranco camp is home for Monday night.  What an adventurous day we had getting there!  We began our morning taking soil moisture measurements for the SMAP campaign. 

A man smiles for a picture.
Mark Brettenny, GLOBE Africa Regional Officer, checking on a soil moisture probe before students take measurements.

Then we hiked the 'wall.' As we left camp, it was full with a human train -- lots of hikers, guides and porters making their way to Karanga camp, or beyond.  What a sight, there must have been over 200 people climbing this lava wall... amazing to see.  And so it was our turn to join the train.  It reminded me in some ways of the 'Wall' in the Badlands of South Dakota, although a completely different geological feature.  The idea of traversing this to continue on a journey is the same.  The top of the 'wall' is 4300 m, which is still lower than the highest point we have been at.  So, we envision that altitude won't impact anyone.

A train of over 100 people hike up the side of a mountain.
A continuous line of hikes, guides and porters climb the Baranco Wall... about 200 people were on the wall with us!

To cross the 'wall,' you really do have to climb in sections... rather like a little bouldering.  I am truly amazed at this landscape and the people who come see it and work in it.  Our team really pulled together to get everyone up the wall and we did finally reach the top.  What a view... looking down on the Baranco valley and the clouds still below us, the streams flowing with glacial melt, the sun above us and mist rolling up the valley toward us.

View of clouds from above.
Clouds are truly below us on top of the 'wall!'

On the way from the wall to the camp site, we hiked several kilometers.  During that time, we even stopped to design a special feature on the landscape.

A group stands in front of rocks that spell "GLOBE."
GLOBE on the mountain!

On our final approach to the camp site we crossed a stream. There we took hydrosphere measurements, soil moisture and clouds data.  Over dinner, we celebrated a birthday of one of the students and the kitchen staff arrived into the dining tent with a birthday cake.  This was followed by a big round of 'Happy Birthday' and numerous Tanzanian songs.  What a special place to celebrate your birthday!  It got us all warmed up and raised the spirits.

A group pose for a picture together.
Omani team from Group 1 on top of the Baranco Wall

Tonight we have the full harvest moon, you can see some stars twinkle at us, but not many, the peak of Kilimanjaro is visible and we are experiencing another night of sub-zero temperature.  Group 2 is higher up than us... so they must really be cold.

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