3 days in the Simien Mountains
Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
36Trip End Mar 02, 2010
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Simien Mountain Trek - 3 days
The trek to the Gich camp took about 5 hours which is pretty typical overall without carrying your oown gear. It was very steep in some areas and some places were simply lovely to walk and soak in the beauty of the area and spot birds - Lammergeyers! and the indiginous and very abundant herds of Gelada Baboons. The further into the park you go the less accustomed the baboons are to humans so they tend to run off but the ones early on in the trek were very casual about our presence and we got some great photos.
When we arrived in camp our gear was already there - tents set up and tea, coffee, popcorn and cookies appeared within minutes of our arrival.
Along the way we had a great time with Alex and Mamo. At a rest break beside a small waterfall, Richard caught the eye of two young girls (the children appear seemingly from no where but they are actually tending herds of sheep or cattle and live in small villages sprinkled around the countryside). The children are happy and always playful. One of the little girls responded to a wave and that started a very entertaining exchange between Richard and the girl. She peeped from around a rock so he mimed doing the same
We had a 'chef' for our trek - nothing but the best for Richard and Carole:)!! He was a very good cook. Dinner started with piping hot soup and followed by a vegetable medley of potatoes, cabbage, beets, carrots and rice. After dinner, the scouts started a small campfire next to the cook house and everyone huddled around the fire to warm up. The scouts wear thin sandals and their only warm clothing is their scarves and shawls so the fire was very important to them. As we sat around we asked Alex if they would get a kick out of learning a simple song and he said something to them and they all smiled so we proceeded to try to teach the 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat'. They were more interested in listening than participating but we got lots of smiles and a bit of applause at the end. It was a bit ambitious to think we would actually sing it in rounds but it was fun.
Today was day trekking from Gich camp to surrounding views of the mountains and valleys. We first trekked to Inmet Go Go which is at 3920 meters (12,740 feet). Only the last bit was a rock scramble to the summit. It has been a long time since we have been 'on a summit' so we celebrated with our classic summit self portrait which Rich has prefected. We soaked in the views. The Simiens are often compared to the Grand Canyon and it is easy to see why. The view from here is a wide canyon with pinnacles and mesas and the odd very green spot of land that is being farmed. We then trekked to another view area over looking the Saha Gorge
Rich and Alex hiked up to a high ridge behind camp for the sunset but I stayed behind in camp. I sat for a bit along the cook house with the scouts. They thought it was really funny that a farengi woman would sit there but it was warm in the sun although the wind did blow the dust and ash from the remains of last nights campfire.
When Rich and Alex returned we had dinner followed by chocolate cake and wine. Another fine day.
After a big breakfast of pancakes AND French Toast and lots of coffee (Buna) we headed out for our short trek to the road where the mini-van was waiting to drive us back to Gondar
Overall the time spent in the mountains was absolutely great! We would highly recommend to anyone coming to Northern Ethiopia not to miss this experience to see this beautiful area.
We also highly recommend Alex as a guide. You can reach him via email at Alebachew_2005@yahoo.com. He is very well organized and very personable.