Toasty and warm inside thanks to the underfloor water pipe heating and insulation of the building. Slept literally most of the way right through having dropped off to sleep within a few minutes of my head touching the pillow so I must have been tired. Therefore New Year was celebrated without me but by the locals at the highest bar in Africa.
So how many layers do I wear down to breakfast? My light weight fleece jacket and 2 layers of merino was enough. Decided for the day's walk to just wear my short sleeve merino top and leave things like extra water, Raro sachets, long sleeve merino in my daypack that will be in the Coaster who will be shadowing us. Oh, how lazy these modern trekkers are!
Away at 8.30 am and again we had the low morning sun for our encounter with the first group of geladas. If I had known what we were to experience later I would not have taken any photos here.
Away we walked northwards with the slowly changing vista to our left. At each small headland we stopped mainly for the obligatory Kodak moment.
The herd of geladas numbered 800.
This reminded me of the Galápagos Islands and the animals having no fear of us humans. Same applied here. We were able to go right up to the geladas or walk right round them and they didn't mind.
Lunch stop at the Sankaber trailhead camp site. Sitting overlooking at the edge of the southern escarpment, the view and peacefulness was really great.
We then followed the northern escarpment eastward, before descending a little into the Kaba / Koba Valley. After that we climb up before we reach Gich Abyss and continue over a narrow ridge to a cliff where we had a really spectacular view of the abyss towards the Simien foothills. On the far side a large waterfall cascaded downwards. This is where the Jinbar River plunges 530 m into the abyss. The slender cone of water kind of vaporized into a fine mist as it tumbled downwards into a chasm ... so deep I could not see the bottom.
Despite that throughout our 14 km walk I knew that the road was often no more than 100 metres away, this didn't ruin the experience.
Walking albeit so slowly in the 5 hours as we had many, many Kodak stops, water stops, animal stops, lunch with that magnificent view down one of the side gullies, I am glad to have experienced a little bit of the quietness and serenity of the Simien Mountains. Yes, I can see why people come here and spend even more days exploring this untouched wilderness.
Sunset Simien Lodge
Sunburn - yes, I should have known being so high. I had applied suntan lotion to every else except behind my neck and back of my legs. Let's see how it goes over the next few days.
HIGHLIGHTS Wed 31 Dec: Geladas, Gich Abyss
Thursday, January 01, 2015
Simien National Park, Amhara, Ethiopia