May 27, 2019
|We were up early and, indeed, no lights! We somehow got dressed and ready to go to breakfast on time. The grounds of the lodge were quite diverse with pineapple bushes and many variety of trees, including elephant’s foot – looked like a baobab.
Then off on a very bumpy ride to the escarpment – only about a mile but the road was so bad it took half an hour – we were all quite shaken up by the trip.
It was quite a lovely day and we ascended the escarpment on a steep path with irregular steps (like everywhere!) The rock formations were very interesting – they looked a bit like lava but were all eroded by wind and water into fantastic shapes. Some caves were along the train and they were used by some local groups to prepare bodies for burial in caves in more inaccessible places.
We came across piles of rocks used as way markers and gathering spots. If you threw a stone on them, you would get your wish! My stone rolled off. Then our guide spotted some stick mantises – a pair having sex. The big female would eat the much smaller male when done. We saw several more along the trail.
As we went along we saw several more graves and some spectacular rock displays – one like a turtle. We stopped for a while at an overlook and took lots of pictures – quite the view.
We continued on and saw wild elephant foots – about 200 years old. We also saw graves from over 500 years ago – still respected by local folks although the people who built them are long gone.
When we got to the edge of the escarpment we were entertained by many piebald crows soring on the updrafts. They looked like they were having quite a blast! The view over the valley was quite spectacular.
Then down the escarpment where we saw lots more spectacular rock formations, including one that looked like an eagle. We headed to a picnic area where there were a troop of ring tailed lemurs and a beautiful crested pair of bird in the woods. One of the lemurs tried to get into Bruno’s backpack. There was one lone sifaka who had been separated from her troop in a fire a couple years ago and been adopted by the ring tails
The whole place was quite organized with people cooking in prepared kitchens, supplies, washing facilities and more! We had a nice lunch and then headed off up one of the canyons to the Black and Blue pools. The climb was gradual but “technical” and it was quite slick. At the ponds Kitty waded and I sat on the rocks. Teresa and James went swimming in the black pool – with a very nice waterfall
Then, on the way back to the van we ran into more ring tails. In the van I chatted with the guide who had a small farm and one daughter. He had been a guide for 12 years. Back to the lodge to rest a bit and have dinner, then off to “Gem Town” – a famous mining town, to look at a jewelry shop. Very interesting stuff. Then off to a three-star hotel for a drink. Paul got quite excited as there was a geo cache there and he could record having found one. Then back to the lodge after dark for the night.