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Published: November 14th 2007
We were off early in the morning to the north, climbing through very pretty countryside to Dabark
, some 50 to 60 miles away. Here we booked in at the Simien Mts National Park head office for two nights stay in the park. It was mandatory to have a scout with us and we managed to persuade them that we only needed one - we could not have carried more had we wanted to. Gail and Jeremy were the only ones capable of arranging their car load to accommodate this man, somehow they seem to be traveling with so much less junk then we are. This scout, we were assured, would guide us up the mountain through the park.
Off we set and to our surprise the road headed north again and descended the most spectacular escarpment down some 3,000 ft. After traveling for almost an hour we felt that we might be on the wrong road. We stopped and questioned the scout who assured us that Axum lay ahead and the park to our right. Out came the GPS which confirmed that we were on the Axum road and no way heading for the park! We could have wrung the
wretched man’s neck!! So we retraced our steps up the escarpment, back into Dabark, and took the correct road to the east into the mountains. It was now 2 pm so we kept going to cover the 36 kms to the official campsite. The road wound higher and higher with ever more spectacular views to the north and north west. We stopped frequently to look in amazement at the countryside some 6-7,000 ft below us where the ground was itself mountainous with spectacularly craggy ranges of hills. Gail’s remark that the only place she had ever seen anything more spectacular was The Grand Canyon. We could all well believe it!
Eventually we reached the campsite which was a great disappointment. Firstly the ground was not level, and we had difficulty in persuading the boss man their that we wanted one particular spot. We won in the end. But there was long grass, there were several other campers nearby and the loos were too close - not the most appealing gathering of long drops we have so far encountered! A cold wind got up and the clouds gathered upwind and we were threatened with rain. Sure enough, as soon as
it got dark and we started to prepare supper, the rain came, cold and miserable! We all repaired to our cars where we drank gin and/or beer and ate our meals off our laps. We left the washing up till the next morning and faced about 10 hours in our tents before daylight - a long, cold night by any measure!
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