Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trip Report: Simien Hike

We were able to see all of the sights in Gondar in just one afternoon so the next morning we had some time to spare.  We joined our tour guide from the previous day and he got a driver to take us north of Gondar to the foothills of the Simien Mountains.  We drove a short distance (about 40 minutes), parked on the side of the road, and started hiking off into the mountains.

We totally had not expected to have this opportunity so we were really excited to be getting to do this.  We hiked for a couple of hours, taking in spectacular scenery.  The pictures are nice, but they simply don't capture the beauty that surrounded us.

We had our guide, a scout and a guard hiking along with us.  From a high vantage point they spotted gelada baboons in the distance.  We headed in that direction and would stop periodically to take photos and watch them from our improved proximity.  Then we would hike a little closer.  Abebe kept telling us we were as close as we would go.  Then he would say "okay, let's go a little closer."

There were about 30 baboons in the group that we were watching.  We were close enough to see little babies jumping around and playing, and the adults showing their patterned chests.  Eventually the baboons started to move along and so we headed back.  We hiked for about 2.5 hours altogether and had a fantastic time.  As we neared the road we were joined by several kids that tagged along, congregating around Christie and holding her hands.  We were invited into the home of a woman that lived near the road.  She gave us each a glass of an alcoholic beverage made from sorghum.  We tried to decline since we don't like alcohol and everyone assured us it had not fermented long so there wasn't much alcohol.  It sure tasted strong though and we ended up giving our nearly full glasses to our guide when it was time to leave.

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