We awoke on the third day of the Safari at Rukumotu, and after clearing up our campsite, we joined the convoy to start our day’s drive. Shortly after leaving the village we saw the reason that Frank declined to descend the mountain at night… a very rocky and difficult drive, with loose rocks that needed some steady nerves for Nikhil.
Once on the valley floor we made better time, but for some reason we lost sight of the convoy, some gentlemen on a tractor indicated a route we should follow, the trail seemed fine until we came to a fork, made deliberately because the older trail was badly damaged. Although the bypass included a steep ascent, Nikhil mastered it like a veteran.
Further along the trail, we cam to a widening in the trail that was mud from treeline to treeline and probably more than twenty-five feet across, at this point we were still alone having not caught site of the lead vehicles of the main convoy as yet. We were now two hours out from Rukumotu, not finding any path across that looked any better than another, we drove straight in…. and got stuck…
Although we tried extricating ourselves from the mud with the winch, we didn’t get very far, and decided to wait on more experienced travellers to assist us, surely the tail of the convoy would catch up. After what seemed like an eternity, but was more likely a half of an hour, we saw the entire convoy coming up behind us… somehow we had gotten ahead of the lead vehicles.
We can take some comfort in the fact that most of the other vehicles also got stuck coming through that patch… but we do hold the dubious distinction of being the first to get stuck… for the entire Safari.
Of course, Nikhil is also quite proud of being instrumental in hauling many of the others through, once we ourselves were on solid ground
From there to our next main stop at Yarong Paru (or Young Peru) it was uneventful (relatively); at Yarong Paru, we took a breather, and gave over some packages the convoy had brought along for the village, as well as made arrangements for re-fuelling… and I took some photographs too… lovely spot on the mountain to be…
I even did a Panorama.
After leaving Yarong Paru, we crossed the Ichilibar bridge, and as we drove along the river bank, we noticed the scene towards the river, we paused (very briefly) to get a few photos. Here’s one:
Our next stop would be at the village on Monkey Mountain, a hard drive, but I did manage to get in a few photos as we drove.
We arrived at Monkey Mountain with time to spare (compared to 2009 anyway), it was still daylight, as we prepared camp, and Naseem worked at our dinner, I managed to catch a nice shot of some children playing football not far from our benab.
Click on the photos to see them larger in the Gallery