*Having recently climbed Kilimanjaro, I found the article in the March 2 Travel section especially interesting. A few additional comments may be useful to those planning the venture -- one I would recommend highly.
I suggest departing from Marangu rather than from Moshi. Marangu is a garden spot 25 miles closer to the park gate and, more important, several thousand feet higher, thereby providing some additional acclimation. Outfitting through the Kibo Hotel at Marangu was no more expensive than the Y in Moshi; guides and porters were well chosen, and the three-course dinners on the climb were -- under the circumstances -- lavish.
Robert E. Cole, Washington
*In Bill Heavey's account of navigating the New River in West Virginia, in the March 2 Travel section, the writer modestly declares himself a "rookie canoeist at best." At best he is also something of a rookie geographer.
The New River, he declares, "is one of the few rivers on earth that flow north rather than south, and was called 'new' by the early settlers because it was the first river they encountered with this characteristic."
Well, these early folks must have heard of the St. Lawrence. And no doubt they knew of the Nile, or the Rhine, the Meuse, the Seine or the Loire. Perhaps talk of Prussia and Russia had made them aware of the Elbe, the Oder and the Vistula. At that time (probably around the beginning of the 18th century), they may not have known of the Orinoco, the Mackenzie, the Madgalena or the Nelson in the Western Hemisphere, or the mighty Ob-Irtysh, the Amur, the Yenisey in Asia.
But the writer should have known: They appear in standard atlases as part of that small group of rivers (fewer than 60) listed as the longest and most famous in the world. Walter Ralls, McLean Heavey replies: Of the world's rivers, only a small percentage actually flow north. My story noted merely that the New was the first northward-flowing river the settlers encountered -- I did not address the question of whether they were aware of other rivers that flow north, such as the ones Ralls mentions.
*The article on Beethoven's birthplace in Bonn in the March 16 Travel section did not mention that the house is owned and maintained by a private organization, Verein Beethoven-Haus. Admirers of Beethoven not only can make a pilgrimage to the house, but also can join the society. I have been a member for 22 years.
Verein Beethoven-Haus was formed to buy the house in 1889, when there were plans to demolish it. In addition to maintaining the house and museum, the society sponsors research on Beethoven and has a number of publications. Each year it sends the members a small volume on some aspect of Beethoven's life.
There are about 500 German and 150 foreign members, including 40 to 50 in the United States. The address is the same as the house: Bonngasse 20, 5300 Bonn, West Germany. Roger Wollstadt, Annandale