Craig residents Lee Norris, left, and Tony Pogline stand in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza during a mid-August vacation to Egypt. The pair saved money for four years to take the trip. Pogline described the experience as a dream come true.

Tony Pogline, Lee Norris/Courtesy

Craig residents Lee Norris, left, and Tony Pogline stand in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza during a mid-August vacation to Egypt. The pair saved money for four years to take the trip. Pogline described the experience as a dream come true.

Craig men’s budget wisdom results in trip of a lifetime

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Tony Pogline, Lee Norris/Courtesy

Craig residents Lee Norris, far right, and Tony Pogline, third from right, stand on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, 19,334 feet above sea level. The guided trek up the mountain took six days from start to finish, including an overnight hike to reach the summit by sunrise.

To some, planning and executing a 15-day foreign trip may seem like a daunting task. For Craig resident Tony Pogline, it wasn’t.

“It’s really pretty darn easy to do,” he said.

Pogline, along with friend and co-worker Lee Norris of Craig, recently returned from a trip that took them to Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania.

The trick to getting there, they said, was patience.

“(We saved) $50 per paycheck, $100 a month,” the 41-year-old Pogline said. “(It took us) a little over four years.”

The men, who have worked at Twentymile Coal Co. for 17 years, began talking about the trip in 2006.

Pogline presented Norris the idea of seeing the pyramids and then climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Norris immediately agreed.

“It really sounded good, and it was good,” said Norris, 60.

The friends opened a joint savings account and had the money directly deposited from their paychecks.

In August, after four years of saving, they departed for their long-awaited adventure.

Their first stop was Cairo, Egypt, where they took guided tours of the three pyramid sites — Giza, Dashur and Saqarah.

“It was surreal,” Norris said of the pyramids coming into view. “I thought, ‘I can’t believe we’re finally here. After four years.’”

After three days in Cairo, the pair flew to Nairobi, Kenya, and transferred to a small plane that took them to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. There, they met up with a guided expedition.

Two days later, they were climbing Kilimanjaro.

The elevation at the trailhead was 6,580 feet.

Five days later, when their guided expedition reached the summit, the Craig residents stood nearly 20,000 feet above sea level.

“The (summit) day was really hard,” Norris said. “They wake you up at 11 p.m. and you start walking at midnight. We got up to the top at about 7 a.m.

“You see the sun come up when you get to the top. Then they hustle you back down.”

“We hiked for 14 hours that day,” Pogline said.

After reaching the bottom the next day, the two traveled for 48 consecutive hours to get back to Colorado.

Despite the hardships, the friends recommend other people try saving travel money the way they did.

“Get a joint account, start direct deposits and make sure it’s hard to get into it,” Pogline said.

“Four years seems like a long time, but when you look back on it, it seems like it went by pretty fast.”

The friends have already begun saving for the next trip, which will be different from their recent expedition, Pogline said.

“The next one will be a little more relaxing,” Pogline said. “We won’t be climbing up mountains and sleeping in tents.

“We’re going to take the wives next time.”

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