Diary updates on the Journey South
Why walk unless it is to see new places? And this we have done in the last couple of days. Despite a few loops and long days, it has been worth the seeing.
Yesterday we took the wrong track, probably mis-directed so as to avoid having us spying on the activities in the Utut badlands? It would have cut down our mileage of about 27 kms done. But it meant we walked through a fairly large, and undamaged, crater, and walked a lot of the original Uganda railway road, originally surveyed by Joseph Thompson in the early 1880's. This was very interesting to see, and admire the hard labour that went into making it - all by hand.
At Kampi Turkana Barabara met one of his old classmates that he hadn't seen since his schooldays on Ol Maisor, and another unseen voice greeted Mr John. Further up the hill we were met by the Somali wife of the ex-head of security from Ol Maisor. Nice to find friendly faces. The Somali community at Kampi Wahindi were delighted that we had brought "our" camels there, Somalis tending to believe that all camels belong to them!
Here we were directed up a very steep hill to reach the Eburru Forest gate, only to be turned around near the top because the camels weren't going to get across a massive valley between us and the gate.
By now we were looking forward to getting into camp, and the first blisters were starting, so it was disappointing to have to re-climb that long steep hill.
But walking through that gate into the lush, green peace and beauty of the forest was so worth it. Luckily the rain again held off as we ended up having to climb to more greater heights, only getting into a tight little campsite shortly before dark, and with a light drizzle.
How does one describe all the volcanic activity in Swahili with my kitchen version and minimal geography? The camel men were asking how all the steam jets and craters in the area works, so this was a challenge! Luckily our very cheerful and helpful ranger/guide, Patrick, was able to help out.
Last night the hyaena's call echoed across the forest valleys, and the buffalo crashed through the bush next to our little camp, and this morning the colobus roll call rumbled around the forest round us. Such a lovely sound. Is that the origin of having "roll call"? The flamingos have continued to chatter and squeak overhead as they fly by in the night, going both south and north.
And today's walk of about 17 kms through the forest, both in Eburru and Loldia, was just a magical delight.
Mutura has suffered today when she was jolted out of her crate, and then walked through a large nettle patch making her feel very sick and sore. I carried her in my shawl for the rest of the way. And our youngest camel has been unwell. He refused to continue up the steep hill to the crater rim, so Hassan and Mwamed had to carry his saddle and luggage to the top. He could think that's a good option and make it a habit?!
Rory's wife, Jenny, joined us in the forest, walking back to Loldia with us. It was heaven to get into that beautiful, warm shower tonight and wash off all the dirt and the sweat. The camel men played some happy tunes on their chamongi knowing they have a day of rest, sort of, tomorrow. We stop here for a couple of nights to let the camels feed and rest. And hand over the rest of the route notes to Rory as we return to Soysambu, and he and Chris continue on their way south-east.