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23. The Simien Mountains
      3/20/2019


Our final adventure on the continent was a three-day trek in the Simien Mountains of northern Ethiopia. As it turned out, this was yet another top highlight of our time in Africa (I know, how many "top highlights" can there be?…).

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A street scene on the way to the park.



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In a yard by the side of the road.



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Most trucks we saw were packed with people.



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Terracing on the relatively flat sections
of the lowlands.



On our journey we were joined by two travelers from Europe, an Austrian named Tom, and a Swiss trekker named Peter. We were guided by "Jojo," and guarded by two scouts, "Gold" (his Amharic name means gold, but we couldn't pronounce it, so we decided to call him "Gold"), and "Science" (at least that's what his name sounded like to us—we're not sure what his name really was).

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Our guide "Jojo"



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Our scouts



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"Gold"



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"Science"



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Peter with Galeda Monkeys—this photo shows how close
the monkeys will let people get.



In addition to the warm hospitality of our three leaders, we were treated to wonderful food from our cook Solomon. And though near the equator, these mountains are quite high (we spent all of our time above 10,000 feet, and the highest elevation we reached was above 12,000 feet) and therefore get pretty cold in the evening and at night. So, it was an amazing treat to reach our campsite at the end of the day to hot tea, popcorn, and crackers!

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Welcome treats at the end of the day.



In addition to the stunning views, there were some wonderful bird and wildlife sightings, including glimpses of several Ethiopian Wolves. According to the IUCN, the status of this wolf is endangered, with only a couple hundred mature adults left on the planet.


No need to add captions to these views...

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Thick-billed Raven



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Tawny Eagles



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The Ethiopian Wolf



Though the hospitality, mountain views, and wolf sightings were pretty incredible, our experiences with the Galeda Monkey stole the show.

I've had the good fortune of observing primates in Madagascar, India and Nepal, Central and South America, and, southern Africa, but without a doubt, the Galeda Monkey is my favorite.

Maybe it's because they don't mind people coming close, or that they spend their time on the ground rather than in trees, or that they don't seem interested in stealing or begging. Or perhaps it's because of their incredible fur and tails that blend in with the mountain grasses. Or, it could be the way each morning they migrate up from the cliffs where they spend the night, then climb back down each evening just after sunset. Whatever the reason, spending time with these creatures was sublime.

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Never got bored of looking at these galedas.



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Amazing how their fur looked like the grass.



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Note the baby in the middle.



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You can see why one of their nicknames
is the "bleeding heart" monkey.




I did my best to keep this compilation brief, but, I just couldn't
make it shorter than 3 minutes. Still can't
stop watching these monkeys!


So, the Simien Mountain trek was an incredible way to end our time on the continent. And, this post describing the trek is the last in the Africa Blog series. I definitely hope to share some of these stories (and more!) with many of you in person once back the States. Cheers! - Rhine

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Me, April, and Peter