Ambiko > Chennek Camp > Debark > Gondar

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October 21st 2011
Published: October 30th 2011
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Not feeling very recovered, we’re up early to reverse our trip back to Chirro Leba in the vain hope the notes of this trip might be correct that there might be an option to catch lift on a 4x4 back to Chennek and thus avoid ascending the long ridge we descended the day before yesterday. It’s a slow start out of camp for the weary legs and RL is struggling on the descents (though still, somehow, remains cheery enough). Both knees are suffering now and that lost strap might’ve been useful at this point. I recall some of my worst descents with bad tendons and am impressed by how little her obviously painful knees are denting her spirits. Once on the ascent to Chirro Leba, the going is a bit easier (if much hotter and made annoying by the constant attention of a pair of young boys and their mules who don’t seem to accept we do not and will not want a ride on their fly-ridden beasts). The village delivers little in terms of transport options beyond the vague promise of a truck at 1pm so we decide to hike up the ridge instead.

It takes me about five minutes into the hike before I lose my temper with the mule boys who are still insisting on following at uncomfortably close proximity. They get the point this time and go on ahead before eventually giving up shortly afterwards. Long, hot, slow progress up the ridge brings us to the point where the trail crosses the road again. A pickup truck happens by with half a dozen locals in the back with what appear to be a pair of televisions (but they may simply be re-using the boxes). They offer a lift to camp on their return but a brief conversation between us leads to a decision to gain the satisfaction of completing the trek on foot.

We crest the brow of the escarpment and instantly have the camp in view far below us. Another hour and a half of descent (and waving away of a couple of other trucks offering lifts) and we’re at the camp. Our transport awaits us and we begin the long, dusty, horrid drive back to Gondar. A few miles outside Gondar the light fades and we all find ourselves wondering if the truck has lights or is merely sporting a pair of candles. With the “in progress” conditions of the roads here, driving at night is highly inadvisable and we can soon see why. We eventually make it to the welcome sight of our hotel and it’s straight onto the patio for a cold beer after what seemed like the longest, most uncomfortable drive of my life. My eyes are stinging from dust and fumes and my sinuses feel like someone’s been mixing concrete in them. The shower is comparable to the post-Kilimanjaro experience in terms of the amount of dirt that pours down the drain.


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