Always in the deep woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is an ancient fear of the unknown and is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. -- Wendell Berry

The TRIP: GUINEA - wonkifong --> MALI - bamako, djenne, douentza, Dogon Country --> Burkina Faso - ouagadougou, bobo-dioulasso, bala, ouagadougou --> GHANA - tamale, mole national park, tamale, yeji, volta lake ferry, akosombo, accra, green turtle lodge, elmina, cape coast, accra, hohoe and wli falls --> TOGO - kpalime, atakpame, lome --> BENIN - cotonu (transport stop) --> NIGER - niamey, tahoua, agadez, camel trek in aiir mtns, niamey --> BENIN (abomey, grand popo, ouidah, ganvie, cotonou) --> CAMEROON (douala, buea, top of Mt Cameroon, limbe, sangelima, yaounde, kribi, douala) --> MAURITANIA (nouakchott, atar, chinguetti, camels into the sahara, terjit, choume, ride the coal train, nouadhibou) --> MOROCCO (western sahara, dakhla, agadir, essaouira, marrakesh, imlil, summit of jebel toubkal, fes, chefchaouen) --> cross the Strait of Gibraltar --> Malaga, Spain --> fly to Geneva, Switzerland --> Les Grangettes, France
Click for a map. Updated April 30, 2007

vendredi, mai 11, 2007

Mt Cameroon

Over the last week, I have been in Cameroon visiting a friend of Patrick's when he was in PC Gambia. Meghan has been great, showing us around and got the trip started with a trek up Mt Cameroon. We took three days to summit the mountain (4,095 meters) and hike the back side. On the first day, it was all about going up. Switchbacks? Nope, this concept has not caught on in Africa. Just head straight up the mountain. The first night was spent in a mountain hut where we had to get creative to keep the mice out of our food. The views from the hut were spectacular. Fortunately, the night was clear and we could see the ocean and many cities below.

Day 2 started where the first stopped: moving straight uphill. The climb was quite chilly and the wind was howling as we continued up into the clouds, sometimes only able to see 15-20 feet in front of us. The stop at the summit was less than 5 minutes as the wind was blowing frigid gusts all around us. After the summit, a run down the scree on the backside quickly got us out of the wind and into warmer weather where we could enjoy the varying terrain of green hillsides, former volcanic flows and cones formed during volcanic activity in 2000. That night, we slept in grass huts and were joined by a French couple exploring the back of the mountain.

Day 3 took us out of the moutain area and the hike began through beautiful, green hills sliced up with old volcanic runs. The fresh air quickly turned heavy as we entered the forest. The dense understory kept us busy navigating muddy trails as we descended the remainder of the way.

After the mountain, we took a quick ride to Limbe which is the location of beautiful beaches for a few days of relaxation in the ocean to soothe the sore muscles. Then, off to Meghan's site to get away from the tourist traffic.