Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More from Kenya '99

Mount Kenya

In July we headed to Mount Kenya, driving from Nairobi at 5,450 feet above sea level and then over fairly flat terrain.  We didn't gain much altitude until we reached the base of the mountain.

Our first night was spent at Old Camp Moses, 11,155 feet above sea level. (two scenes below)

The second night we stayed at Shipton's Camp (13,898 feet).

We woke up well before sunrise on July 4th to begin our scramble up Point Lenana (16,355 feet), the highest peak.  We reached the peak and rested on ice-covered rocks just as the sun rose over a blanket of clouds.  While we watched, the clouds burned away to reveal the valley and plains below.  It was a breathtaking site, no doubt, and a great spot to celebrate the 4th.

After our scramble to the peak we hiked down the west side of the mountain through the Teleki Valley along the Naro Maru Route and to MacKinder Camp (13,780 feet).

The below sketch was done soon after we arrived at MacKinder Lodge.  I showed it to one of the guides who commented on the disorder of our packs and boots and how he would've arranged them more carefully.

Our last stop was at the Summit View Pub near the Naro Maru Youth Hostel, where we waited for our van.  The hostel was an old brick farmhouse from the British colonial period.  Stories of the Mau Mau rebellion and its final days when the rebels sought refuge in the forest around the mountain made us consider the poverty and crippling kleptocracy under which Kenya strains and from which we were so heavily insulated.

Below, Guides and other patrons of the Summit View Pub


Monday, June 9, 2014

My Old School

Davidson College

Back to dear ol' Alma Mater for our 15th college reunion.  I had a chance to sketch a few familiar scenes.

Chambers Building

Built in 1929 to replace A.J. Davis' original Chambers Building of 1855.  The Greek Cross drum, Diocletian windows and stepped dome borrow heavily from McKim Meade and White's Low Library at Columbia University of 1895.  The McKissick Building at the Universitry of South Carolina was built about ten years after Chambers and contains several identical exterior elements, including the shrouded maidens flanking the shield with the college seal.  Since my time this building has been thoroughly renovated, bereft of the battered wooden double hung windows and their rattling counterweights so easily thrown open when you'd hole-up in a classroom to cram for an exam.  Nary a chalkboard in sight these days.  All Smart Boards and carpeted rooms with tiered seating.

Oak Row

These wonderful slate-roofed rows were the original dormitories in the nineteenth century and today house state-of-the-art recording and rehearsal spaces for music majors, or at least they did when I was a student. Cunningham Fine Arts Building peaks out to the right and up the hill.  Neither were my typical haunts, but they present an idyllic scene and it was a great spot to sit.