Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 79: Back and Forth

After many lengthy phone calls with Air Madagascar it became evident that the only way for us to secure seats back to Tana would be to visit an agency. So we sucked it up and took a taxi back to Fianar, once again, so that we could buy our seats.

Then we continued onwards, straight towards the mountains, in a slow-moving 4x4. We passed tiny villages and in between, kids were making the hour-long walk to or from school. The drive was made memorable by a key stop where our driver had to build the bridge out of wood from his trunk before we could continue on. Children swarmed us demanding candy, empty water containers, and even the clothes off our backs while we waited.

Three hours after leaving Ambolavao, we pulled up in front of some rustic bungalows and an open restaurant, we took a moment to stare out at the imposing rock wall that seemed to stretch across the entire horizon that we would be hiking into the next day. We were served a hearty late lunch, briskly washed off in their cold shower that produced only a trickle of water, and watched a storm roll across the sky. Dinner was a three-course meal listening to the echoes of huge, rumbling thunderclaps while watching the sky change so quickly you could barely take your eyes off it. Both sheet and fork lightning illuminated the open valley and made us anxious for our trek ahead.

Our guidebook indicated that to hike to the summit of Peak Boby and over the range to the other side, you would only need a two-day trek. But at the park office they insisted that we camp two nights in the mountains, with three days of trekking for it to be manageable. So we stocked up on a bit more rice and water and shrugged off canceling our reservation on the other side due to lack of cell reception. We tried our best to pack our bags so things would be appropriately accessible, and yet not too heavy for our porters. Then we bid goodnight to our traveling companions and headed off to sleep.
View from our starting point for the trek. The peak is labelled if you zoom in

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