Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A short walk in the Simiens - Day 1 - Debark to Sankaber, Ethiopia.

Over hill, over dale... For the first few hours of Day One the trail went through farmland with terraced fields before reaching the northern escarpment. This pic is taken in the direction of Debark.

Fantee and his mule. That's my back pack on the mule's back. Looks like mule isn't taking flack over the sack.

The trail...

Reaching the northern escarpment... That's Fasil, the scout, in the foreground. Can't emphasize the inadequacy of my camera to capture the landscape...

Horsey needs a good home cooked meal... I thought I was skin and bones...

Any botanists out there...? 32 K today. The ol' body's shuttin' er down, eh...

This is the road we keep bumping into. It runs all the way to Chennak (and beyond) but I'm confident the views weren't as good as the ones we were treated with...

Home away from home at the Sankaber campground. Tent was as delicate as a house of cards.

View from the tent. It's a doozy, eh?

Fantee and Fasil chewing the fat right before bed time. I was a real good boss and bought them a stack of fire wood. Shockingly, I found out later that they were shelterless.

Good grief. Stayed up till 1 AM packing my bag. I just have too much junk. Not a good start to the day.

The scout, Fasil showed up at my door step at 7. He spoke a little English. Enough English for us to get along. It will be important because I didn't hire a guide and will be dependent on him to lead me. I know that's playing it dangerously but I will tip him handsomely because of the extra duties. He motioned to me to move quickly. He dragged off my pack. I've never had my luggage carried by any kind of beast of burden on a trek or otherwise. So, to see it strapped to the side of a stoutly built mule was a bit surreal. Fasil and Fantee (the muleteer) finished off the packing by tying on their own small sacks of belongings and off we went.

It took about a half hour to walk through Debark. Once outside the village, we veered off the road (one that was intertwined with the route we took) and found ourselves walking deep into rural Ethiopia. It was so nice to get off the bus and out of the cities. The walking was comfortable, mainly gentle rolling hills. Surprisingly, there weren't many people around. Considering the season, the fields were covered with golden brown stubble.

We met up with the road once in awhile. At one point, Fantee and the mule marched onwards using the road, while Fasil and I followed a trail for about 15 minutes. We had reached the edge of the escarpment. The view was just a stunner. The drop off must have been 1000 m or more. It was like a picture of the Grand Canyon before us. The only difference was the lack of a North Rim. Instead, I was replaced by Eritrea in the north. To the east there was a landscape of tortured mesas (of all shapes), and outlines of razor-edged ridges.

For the next couple of hours we walked along the edge of the escarpment. I couldn't get enough of the mind blowing viewpoints.

Thoroughly impressed, we followed the road at the end of the day to the Sankaber campground. The effort needed for the 6 hour walk had caught up to me. I was tired. Really tired. The fact that I had frequent coughing fits didn't help. The coughing, I've decided, will eventually kill me. I hope the fitness and health are better tomorrow.

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Sankaber at an elevation of 3249 m.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Apr 16/07
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1 comment:

Steve H. said...

Looks like somebody's trying to tear that continent apart...