Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lord of the Rings: Tanzania Edition

Ever have those moments where you feel like you've stepped into a movie??  In the midst of our hike this past weekend, we all agreed we could easily be in the Lord of the Rings, hiking towards Mordor.

(aka a rock hill in a village about an hour from Musomaland...)
We zigzaged through shambas (farms) as best we could till we finally hit a river-gorge dead-end.  (Ok, it was an irrigation ditch, but river gorge sounds a lot better!)

My roommate Ronit's mad 4WD driving skills
The parking spot
We got out, asked if we could leave our car where it stood... and then wandered back and forth for a few minutes before appealing to our friendly neighborhood farmer for help on the best place to cross!

We stumbled, slid, and got stuck across irrigation ditches, mud-sticky swamps, flooded cow plains, thorn bush patches, corn fields, rainforests and massive boulders. All in skirts :)

Since I was the only photographer in our group,
just assume anything they did, I did too! ;)
At one point Gollum (a local farmer) came over to lead us across his marshy cow pasture, then sent us on our way on the other side.  I was pretty sure he had a secret ring in his pocket, but he didn't offer to share... ;)

Eventually we started to wonder what it'd be like to just start walking cross-country for days weeks on end.  Something like Frodo and his band did (but without the orcs).

 We got a bit torn and beat up along the way...
(Can you see the path?  "Just crawl on your belly under the thorn bushes...")

...but we kept our smiles...
...and finally made it!
We didn't have a ring to destroy at the top, but we did eat celebratory chapatis, take a few pictures, and chat with a bull we randomly met near the top. (How did HE get up here?)

God blesses me with family wherever I go!
My Aussie bro, Lindsay...
...and amazing roommate (for 9 more days), Ronit!
On our way back, we couldn't see the car, so we wandered a bit off-course as the storm rolled in.

BUT we followed our feet through the mud, plunged through the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gumdrops, climbed into the Prado, and found our way back to a dirt road that promised to bring us home. :)
As my students would say, "THE END!!!"

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