|Northern Ring-Tailed Mongoose|
|White-Fronted Brown Lemur (male)|
The second camp was perched on rocks overlooking the esteemed summit. We were at the top (or what felt like the top) of a cascade. This time we had a dining hall with a stunning view. Erin felt pleased with the hike, and conscious of the big blisters on her heels (and the stormy clouds above), opted to stay behind and take in the views. Meanwhile, Craig accompanied Jean-Louis and headed out to meet up with the special guide we'd hired to help us find the elusive Silky Sifaka.
The hike up the mountain to find the tracker and thus the rare Silky Sifaka was a steep one, roots climbed out of the mud to form stairs, each step above the knee. The guide would howl into forest; a few seconds later we would receive the tracker's reply. Near the top of the first plateau the tracker sounded very near, and much like gorillas and chimpanzees it was time to go off-trail. This experience proved the most difficult as the valley was steep, the ground an undulating mass of life, past and present, and the lemurs moved with great speed. Desperately holding onto saplings and becoming ensnared in the roots time and time again, Craig was finally rewarded. The lemurs were close much of the time, joyfully jumping through the trees.
For the rest of the afternoon, we lazed around in the dining area admiring the view and hiding from the rain. We leisurely prepared lunch/dinner: a dish that must have been the envy of the three guides and one other tourist we saw (although they ate 1.5 hours before us). We cooked dry beans, added rice, and sautéed chives, carrots, ginger and lemon in with them. Then as a topping we made our mango salsa with garlic, and shallots in lemon juice. To top it off, Craig found some curry in the supply cupboard - a delicious creation! It was so much fun to cook together again.
We watched our mongoose friends rummage around the site for scraps, identified some new bird species, and settled in for another great sleep.