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Sunday, Gondar to Simien Mountains National Park

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Today is the 3 day / 2 night Simien National Park trekking tour. I got up at 07:00 and went downstair for breakfast. The receptionist was asleep on the floor in the office. He sent me across the street to a restaurant. I wasn't sure if they had an agreement to provide the breakfast that was included with my reservation. The restaurant was open but they weren't cooking yet. They sent me down the street to the L-shape Hotel. At the L-shape Hotel, I had coffee and was talking to a friendly Brit. He also was leaving on a trekking tour and his guide came and picked him up.

I went back to the Michael Hotel and checked out. They tried to charge me for the breakfast that didn't exist but I straightened them out on that. I waited outside and the tour guy picked me up and we walked two blocks to a restaurant where the group was gathering. Of course the Brit was there along with another young British guy and an Israeli couple. I finally got some eggs and more coffee at that restaurant.

The tour jeep picked us up and we made the two hour drive to Debark where the Simien Mountains National Park headquarters is located. The drive was very scenic with views of the beautiful hills and valleys full of green terraced fields.

At the park headquarters we all went in and registered and the guide paid our entry fees. We picked up all of our cooking supplies, our cook, and our armed scout and we headed into the national park. We drove about another 30 minutes or so and then they dumped us out to start trekking. They gave us our food since we would be stopping somewhere along the trail for lunch.

We hiked the rest of the day and it was foggy most of the time. When there were breaks in the fog we got brief glimpses of the spectacular scenery of mountains and valleys. At one point we encountered a group of 30 or so gelada baboons and we were able to walk among them for some nice close-up photos.

After about four hours and around 16:00 we got to the Sankabar Camp where we would be spending the night. We had a rustic "lodge" which was one big room lined with single beds. Our luggage from the tour vehicle had already been dropped off.

We shared the lodge with another group of five tourists and all of our guides, scouts, cooks, and other random locals slept on the floor. They kept warm by spooning each other in a long row. Most of them had mattresses on the floor but the scouts, who were older, just had some goat skins on the concrete floor. Judging by their hearty snoring, they slept the best of all of us. The bed was pretty comfy and the room heated up nicely from all of the bodies inside.

The lodge had a clangy metal door that was hard to open and close. Whenever anyone went to the bathroom outside, they had to open that door and wake everybody up. I had to go first so I had to use my flashlight to avoid stepping on the people on the floor and then get the rusty door bolt open with a minimum of light and noise which was impossible. Thirty minutes later the Israeli couple went out and woke everyone up again. Standing outside to use the bathroom in the pitch black fog was nice. I flicked my flashlight on and off a few times to make sure a rogue baboon or a jackal wasn't sneaking up on me.


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