Thursday, April 16, 2009

Last day on the caravan

Our last day out we had to pick up the pace. A storm front was blowing in. The beautiful blue sky went to clouds in a matter of hours. The forecast was for high winds and rain.

As we lost the sun we turned our camels toward a river crossing. The depth of the water changed based on the rain falling upstream. So did the speed of the current. Our guides gave us the option: find a camp site; hunker down and wait out the approaching storm or push on, cross the river, and make for our final destination. We elected to press on. With a storm coming, the temperatures were starting to drop. Camping didn't hold a lot of comfort for the night.

The river crossing. The posts and guide ropes gave us a straight level place to cross, with the water about knee to waist deep. If the current was fast, the ropes gave us something to hold onto. We took off our shoes so we could feel the gravel and sand as we crossed and keep our shoes dry.

We had to walk across the river while our guides walked the camels; we couldn't ride in case the camel slipped. Anything we didn't want to get wet, we carried. Like our backpacks. Of course that also meant that if we slipped, any packs we were carrying, would be wet.

Camels love the water. They tend to ignore anything they're carrying and roll in the water.

So we had to watch them closely and if one started to kneel in the water to roll, the rest would follow. We had to make sure nobody got the bright idea to take a bath.

Our last sunset. True to the forecast, a storm moved in that night and the rain/wind pounded the ranch where we ended our trip. We would have had a cold wet night if we'd elected to camp out. A warm bed and shower never felt so good.

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