November 3 - Dust to Not Dust!
I think we can now say the “rains have arrived”. Last night the sky opened and two downpours (one that lasted about 4 hours) happened. The river that we had crossed earlier that day rose at least 4 feet carrying large tree trunks downstream like they were twigs! We all were thankful that we had crossed earlier rather than being left stranded on the other side unable to advance until the water level dropped.
We awoke to a fresh camp with signs of new growth springing from the ground already, a few new insects that we hadn’t seen before including a blue centipede which the drovers said should not be approached!!
We are now walking through Rombo Conservancy. We were met by two Rangers from the Conservancy who will be escorting us through this area.
The clouds loomed ominously for the first part of the morning until finally the rain returned again. We had forgotten just how hard it rains here. A few drops quickly turn to a deluge in seconds. We couldn’t help but think how parched the area has been and how much this means to the Masai farmers who have been waiting so long to grow their crops. However, and just to make things interesting, we were once again walking in black cotton soil! The four inches of dust we were walking in the day before quickly turned to four inches of sticky mud! The giraffe of course continued to watch us on our way however this time we weren’t sure if they were watching in curiosity or watching while laughing hysterically at the train slipping and sliding in front of them. We were quite the sight.
All joking aside, the mud can be very dangerous for the camels. Our full attention turned to helping them get through without injury. The drovers worked in unison, breaking the usual chain of 8 or 9 camels into groups of two or three, walking them slowly while calming them with song and their well known commands, coaxing them forward and assuring they would be ok. The occasional camel would simply sit down in protest only to be persuaded to stand and continue the journey. While a few four legged slides occurred they remained steadfast in maintaining their balance. The rain that was now coming down in buckets seemed secondary, as everyone’s attention was riveted on their safe journey.
We arrived in camp to a few rays of sunshine and a chance to dry out and recharge for tomorrow. The camels, while looking very muddy, never missed a beat once unloaded and quickly started their afternoon of grazing the fresh greenery. The forecast looks wet for the next few days which leaves us hoping the black cotton soil is behind us!