With breakfast over, we started our second
day of riding. We went on a circuitous ride this morning. Evidently
our intention was not to cover any great distance, but see wild animals.
We went in every possible direction until I would have been thoroughly
confused without my GPS receiver. Incredibly, Lisa knew where we
were by her (amazing but not infallible) system of dead reckoning.
We encountered a lot of game animals, but because this was an official
hunting area, they were very wary and would run off as soon as they caught
sight of us. Tom said that there used to be lots and lots of rhinoceroses
in this region in historical times, but now that they had been poached
to extinction. Now that the rhinos were gone, the whole nature of
the vegetation was changing - for the worse.
Just leaving Camp 1.
The handsome dude on the left is me. Hey, consider yourself
lucky I wasn't facing the camera, OK!?!
I saw more giraffe on this trip than I had seen all the time I
in Africa put together. The richness of the game was incredible.
All four of these images are compliments of Dr. Kolblinger
Here's one I got with my digital. This is about
as close as the giraffes would let us get.
It was an interesting ride and it would have
been very, very enjoyable except some of us were having trouble with our
horses by now. To make matters worse, my blisters were rapidly developing
into a problem.
By noon we made it to a pretty little "sand
river" where we found the Land Rover and lunch being made. A bright
sun was out by this time and it was hot under it. We found some shade
under the trees growing by the dry river bed and you can see from the picture
how nice it was actually was there. What tree branches there were
were inadequate to tie up the horses to so they were allowed to wander
through the camp. It was kind of fun having them around like that,
but they did get into things and things could have gotten bad if any of
the little horse fights that occurred would have turned serious.
For all the riding we did, it seemed we had
ridden scores of miles since breakfast but, incredibly, my GPS said we
were west of last night's camp by only about three miles. Three miles,
that can't be right?!? At first I thought I had selected a wrong
waypoint in the GPS. On rechecking I could see that we had traveled
many miles sightseeing, but only three miles in a straight line from last
By the way, I sure loved having that GPS along.
With my GPS I knew I could never be lost or disoriented and knew that I
could always get back no matter what. The GPS was one item I would
have hated to be without.
Lunch Stop 2
2 degrees 57.126 minutes south latitude
36 degrees 25,085 minutes east longititude
3,708 feet above sea level
After lunch we began a long, long ride to
Camp 2. At first, we ran into huge herds of giraffes, the numbers
of which astounded everybody. I love giraffes and even have a carving
of one at home, but I was starting to get a bit jaded by the sheer numbers
of them out there. It definitely would have been more enjoyable if
they would have let us approach them a little closer, but (as said before)
all the critters out there were very wary of strange creatures that might
Giraffes, the land was alive with them.
After riding some distance, the nature of
the ground changed from relatively firm grassland to a very dusty semi-bare
ground. Our little herd of horses couldn't help but kick up clouds
of dust as we rode along. I don't mind riding on bare, dusty ground
all that much because we have so much of it in California and I'm used
to it. At home I have experienced riding where it's been hot, dry
and dusty and I've experienced riding where it's been cold, wet and muddy
and believe me, hot, dry and dusty is better any day. Still, the
dust got to you after a while and too much of anything is, well, too much.
Here's some scenes from that afternoon taken by Dr. Kolblinger.
Mostly the dust was too thick and I didn't want to
ruin my camera by taking any pictures with my more fragile digital
Dr. Kolblinger as "Der Herr Auf Swartz"
These dusty conditions persisted mile after
mile. For just this kind of riding, I always bring along a bandanna
and I use it even though it makes me look like a Wild West bandit.
You know, it's the old question of "form over function" but, I don't give
a damn about how I show, I'm much more interested in how I go. If
wearing a bandanna will keep the dust out of my lungs, I'll wear it and
you can laugh all you want to.
Silly as I look, bandannas work.
"Throw down that strongbox and don't try anything funny!"
After the longest time we pretty much left
the dust in the dust, but now started riding over some very bad country.
The floor of the valley over which we were riding now was now covered by
a volcanic soil that must have contained large amounts of shrinking clays
(montmorillinite to you geologists). The soil was now dried out thereby
producing large cracks that were mostly hidden by tall grasses and by thin
layers of soil. The horses kept stepping and falling into these cracks
and the going was slow, uncomfortable and dangerous for both the horse
and the rider. We slowly made our way through this country until
it started getting late.
Toward evening we were still riding and there
seemed to be a disagreement between Lisa and Tom as to just where the next
camp was. It was then I discovered that whenever anything went wrong
or we were lost, you either knew Danish or you knew nothing. Yes,
all important discussions were conducted in a language that none of us
understood. I can't speak for the others, but the fact that they
resorted to this tactic and obviously felt that we should not to be included
in discussions that effected our welfare made me extremely uncomfortable.
Just because I didn't know what they were saying sure did nothing to enhance
their competence or credibility in my eyes, but rather the opposite.
I'll tell you something else, when I'm taking part in an activity, especially
if there's risk involved, I want to be informed and I want to be included
in any possible solution. I don't appreciate it when I see
myself and others around me treated as if we were small children or irresponsible
rabble. I feel very strongly about this, but I'm not speaking for
anyone but myself here.
Tom went one way and Lisa went another and
I tried to ride my herd bound nag between them so we wouldn't completely
loose communications with each other. That damn horse nearly went
berserk on me and I had the most difficult time keeping it under control.
Lisa's instincts proved to be correct and she
spotted the camp in the distance. I called out to Tom and then allowed
the horse to go back to the others (about 200 yards away) It started
a mad, out of control dash through fallen branches and dangerous footing
until I was able to pull it up and make it trot back in a more controlled
fashion. It was so nearly out of control, I thought it was going
to rear at any time. And this was Cougar, the same horse I had said
such wonderful things about on the last safari.
To get and keep control of my horse, I had
to use the curb reign pretty hard. Next day we noticed an abrasion
on the horse's chin where the curb chain makes contact. It was likely
my fault the abrasion occurred, but part of the problem may have been due
to the way the curb chain was put on that morning. That aside, these
abrasions to the chin are no big deal, all my horses have had that happen
to them at one time and I've seen plenty of other horses get them on a
hard fox hunts. The abrasion heals over in a few days without any
intervention. Big Deal - right? Wrong! Janice acted like
I had brutally and with 'malice of forethought' nearly destroyed the poor
Just as I caught up with everybody and had
that damn piece of dog meat I was riding under control, Lisa (again without
warning) made another one of those mad dashes for the camp and this was
over that dangerous cracked open ground too. Oh, I was mad and I
thought to myself, "damn it, damn it, this is exactly the opposite of what
a leader with good sense should be doing." First and foremost, it
was damned dangerous to run into a picket like that and it was such piss
poor training for the horses. Horsemen have a name for an animal
that rushes home at full speed and out of control. That horse is
called "barn sour" and next to rearing, that's the worse vice a horse can
have - even worse than being herd bound. Here we were actually teaching
the horses to be barn sour. I told my "Cavalryman who broke his back
at the Gettysburg picket line" story again to whoever was listening, but
alas, to no avail.
In this manner, we arrived in camp just as
the sun was going down. After putting everything away and giving
the horse to the staff, I noticed that there was an old giraffe nearby
who wasn't so intimated by our presence so I got my camera and sneaked
up to him on foot. That was as close as I've ever been to a truly
Wild giraffe right outside Camp 2.
2 degrees, 50.555 minutes South Latitude
36 degrees, 21.830 minutes East Longitude
3577 Feet above Sea Level
For some reason, I didn't get any pictures
of Camp 2 except a blurry one of Terry trying to mend his one and only
pair of riding pants.
By the way, his pants were rapidly falling
apart. Now, I really hate to see a guy have to ride around naked,
so I offered to lend him my second pair (we are both about the same size)
but he refused my offer with what I perceived as a huff. I told him
that the pants were clean and he was quite welcome to them, but if he wanted
his ass hanging out of his own ripped pants, so be it. You just can't
be nice to some people - right?
Terry said something about being in (I think he said)
"the Loyal Navy" as a young man. I had been in the
U.S. Navy myself and one thing they teach you is
the skill to mend your own uniform.
Caught this picture of Mt. Kitumbeine from Camp 2 just as the sun
was coming up. Kitumbeine is another stratavolcano
and is about 9,400 feet high. There is a native
village straight ahead and to the right about
3 miles from here.
Sunrise at Camp 2.
After missing all that sleep the night before,
I was ready to hit the sack as soon as our (good as always) supper was
over. You know, I can hardly remember a thing about that evening
except I knew I was going to have a good sleep. I don't think I took
a shower either. I seem to remember that it was about this time that
Terry and I discovered we had so little interests and background in common,
it wasn't worth talking about - if you get my meaning.
My blisters were getting serious by this time
and the truth is, I really wasn't having a very good time. That's
an understatement because in fact, I was having an absolute lousy time
and again I considered calling it quits early.
I do remember that I slept well that night
and didn't even mind those times Terry's snoring woke me up. I simply
cleared my throat and he'd turn over and stop, I'd then go back to the
sweet arms of Morpheus for more of that which had not escaped from Pandora's
Box (yes, I mean sleep - don't you know any mythology?). Near
dawn I woke up feeling really refreshed, took a photo of the sunrise, ate
breakfast and waited for the next stage of the journey to start.
Go to Chapter 9
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