Ethiopia: Hiking Ethiopia - Above the Sea of Mountains

analysis

Back before the 17-month Ethiopian civil war halted tourism and scared off travellers, Don Pinnock took the long, hard road to the Simien Mountains. Up there, he recalls, lammergeiers rule the ramparts and gelada monkeys bare their hearts.

My eyes registered the gradient as gentle but, after 35 kilometres at around 3,500 metres above sea level, my legs calibrated each step in degrees of pain.

The deeply grooved pony track led up through giant lobelia and huge Erica trees towards a sky which swirled and rumbled, threatening rain. I found myself chanting my usual mountain mantra: "Why, why, why do I do this?" It was 2007, and my goal was Imet Gogo (The Mother), a lofty eyrie on the rim of the Great Rift Valley in northwestern Ethiopia -- but that was still a long way ahead.

"Eggs?" he said, hopefully. When I failed to respond the other one tried another tack: "Hellowhat'syournamedoyouhavepenforme?"

"What?" I croaked at him, then realised it was a heavily accented version of a standard local greeting to foreigners. But I was too far gone to be polite: "Look," I replied, knowing he wouldn't understand a word I said. "I've just walked all day through these...

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

X