Friday, April 18, 2008

A short walk in the Simiens - Day 3 - Gich to Chennak, Ethiopia

On top of ol' Imet Gogo peak (approx 3916 m). If you look in the horizon, on the left is a flat-topped mesa and to its right is a sharper mountain that looks like stack or conning tower of a submarine. At this point they are 2 walking days away. To get there, we plunge into the deep canyon to the right of this pic.

Joined by the girls.

Nice views from Imet Gogo...

Coming down from Imet Gogo...

Looking back toward Imet Gogo. Not a really a peak but high enough...

Fasil having a snack on top of the great western plateau. Easy walking...but really cold. I can't believe I gave him a break...what was I thinkin'?

More baboons. You're probably wondering what these critters eat up here. Definitely not bananas. More like grass. I saw them digging for roots or rhizomes as well.

One of the many shepard boys in the Simiens...

Gollum, gollum... give this guy a snack bar of lard...

This is my favourite part of the park so far.

Camp in Chennak. Much better than Gich in terms of wind protection... Chennak represents the end point for many trekkers. It's too bad...

Truly outstanding day.

The wind was blowing really hard last night. I was pushing back the wall of the tent, worried that the whole thing might have imploded on me. Had to check if the fly was still intact. Thank god it was.

Woke up early but left late at 0948. Story of my life.

Today's goal was Imet Gogo, one of the highest wall peaks on the trek. (Ed. note: GPS reading for the Imet Gogo (just below the peak) was N13 17.176 E38 08.689 at an altitude of 3916m.)

The elevation gain was not so noticeable as we walked slowly along. The plateau was forgiving. Grasslands with a light sprinkling of lobelia plants. I caught up with the 4 girls from camp. One of them was a total knockout. She had dark hair, deep blue eyes, and spoke with a noticeable Scandinavian lilt in her voice. Too bad they only planned to trek till today.

I digress.

With some very minor scrambling we reached the top of Imet Gogo about an hour after leaving Gich. Just brilliant panoramic views in all directions. Most guidebooks really embellish descriptions on these occasions but this was the real deal my friends. The view was just a stunner. We spent a good half hour on the summit.

I soon walked ahead of the girls. We took a left fork and the girls faded from view. We took dead aim for the town of Chennak. At this stage we were treading through fields of grass with outcrops of lichen encrusted rocks. We saw many large groups of gelada baboons feeding along the edge of the abyss.

Chennak was seen in the distance clinging to the edge of the escarpment. Close but yet so far. In our way were several tough rocky outcrops we had to climb over. Slowly but surely we caught up with the French/Swiss group (those riding horses!). That couldn't be? I thought I was an out of shape old guy...

We arrived in Chennak at 1400 to find Fantee and Jerry (the mule).

Should get cookin'. Tonite's menu? Pasta, tuna, in a creamy mushroom soup. Mmmm...

(Ed. note: today's lunch was peanuts, raisons, really old bread with peanut butter (sans salt) and water...)

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According to the GPS, Chennak is at N13 15.654 E38 11.651.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Apr 18/07
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