Monday, January 28, 2013

crossing the rock bridge to the other side

Snuggled up next to Ashlynn and Adelaide all night kept me warm and cozy up on the plateau.  We all woke bright and early with a hunger in our bellies.  Our entire crew hiked to the dining area and ordered fresh eggs with vegetables, hot coffee (loads of it for Justin and I) and tea (for Megan and Bella).  We had the entire day ahead of us with three small children and absolutely no desire to complete any major hiking adventures.  We were told the baboons weren't up on the plateau because all the farmers in the valley were harvesting their crops. So that was out. We really wanted to see the baboons.  We attempted to get Ashlynn a nap and when that completely failed we asked our guide to show us the way to the connecting plateau for a short hike.
the rock bridge connecting one side of the plateau from the next
the plateau we hiked to from the view point of Hudad before we started

We all stood looking out to the other side, as he explained that there was a small path among the rocks on the rock bridge.  We didn't believe him until we saw a group of villagers and their donkeys traverse the rock bridge using what looked like ancient stairs that had been worn into the rocks.  After seeing the villagers do it, we decided we could too!

Our guide helped Addie across, Justin held Bella (there was a lot of deep breathing from my husband), I had Ashlynn strapped to my back and Megan helped carry all our water bottles and snacks (a serious undertaking). Poor Megan was wondering how she got into this terrible mess with us in Africa!  Especially after the trek the day before.  I nearly gave my sister and husband a heart attack when I stopped on the rock bridge to take a few pictures-not the best call on my part.  Having Ash with me gave me more confidence in my steps.  I knew I had to be steady for my sweet girl. There was never a moment of panic for me.
my lapse of judgement photo while on the rock bridge
the face says it all!
 After reaching the other side we looked back at Lalibela Hudad. The lodge looks majestic on the plateau.  The views from other plateau were spectacular as well.

View of Lalibela Hudad from the other plateau
Amazingly, this plateau holds an even higher plateau where an entire sprawling village calls home.  As we hiked around we watched swarms of villages descend the plateau above us, some running, barefoot, women carrying their children and immense loads on their backs.  Our guide explained that there was a funeral today further down the mountain and the villagers were descending to attend.  It was the speed of their descent that shocked us.  These people go up and down these plateaus every day.  It's was absolutely mind blowing.
Villagers running and hiking down the mountain.  They started at the top of plateau you see in the background.

I felt like a complete wanker in my tennis shoes and sunglasses.  Seriously. We looked like aliens up there. 

The children that live in these villages high on the mountains aren't allowed to attend primary school until they are nine or ten years old because they have to be strong enough to go down the mountain every morning and then back up every afternoon!  Unbelievable.  The only school is at the very bottom, in Lalibela, where we started our trek the previous day.  The good news is that our guide explained that the same Ethiopian man who built Hudad has plans in the works with the local government to start building a school on the plateau so the young children in these villages can attend school at a younger age.  Amazing!
Addie has no fear. She trekked around with our guide all day
We watched herds of goats, sheep and donkeys pass us as well as men, women and children.  I snapped a few shots of the birds and the landscape.  It was a lovely place to explore.  It was wonderful to have Megan on this adventure with us.  Definitely once in a lifetime!

1 comment:

Nomads By Nature said...

I wouldn't call you wankers. That was an amazing adventure and feat with small children. Well done and thanks for sharing the photos!