Journey to Lake Natron and Back
by John Fuhring
Chapter 4
The expedition begins

     After trying out the horses we went back to our rooms, unpacked, cleaned up and waited for supper.  I hadn't slept for more than a few minutes in the last 48 hours, but wanted to stay up until local bed time so as to minimize the effects of jet lag.  Unlike some others, I didn't take a nap that afternoon.  Late in the afternoon we all got
together on the verandah of the main house for "sundowners" and snacks and a little socializing.  This was a lot of fun.

Yep, Lake Natron is out that-a-way.
Picture compliments of Dr. Kolblinger

First sunset looking west to the African Rift Valley.

The left map is our actual route.  The right map is my original guess regarding our route.

     We discussed the trip, looked over some books in their library and I pulled out my maps.  Tom and I went over the general route and I made some (what turned out to be accurate) guesses regarding our course.  Jan told me about the problems visitors have been having with those ruthless armed bandits that come down from Somalia.  This put a little scare into me when he told about how they had recently held up some visitors near the south end of Lake Natron at a permanent camp down there.  I asked him what he thought our chances of avoiding this kind of violent crime would be.  Jan assured me that we should be pretty safe because we'd be moving rapidly and by the time the bandits knew we were in the area, we would have already moved off to another camp.  Wow, outrunning dangerous animals and cutthroat Somali bandits while on horseback, how cool!  Everything about this trip seemed full of promise and I was really warming up to it by this time.  I was really pleased I had come.  We had a very fine supper in the farm's dining room and after a while, retired to our guest rooms.  The first day was over.
     That night, I went to bed in the same bedroom in the same guesthouse I had occupied at the start and end of my first safari.  I thought I'd fall into an instant torpor, but for some reason sleep didn't come right away, but sleep I did and woke up the next morning just at dawn with little or no effects from what should have been an 11 hour jet-lag.

Dawn from my bedroom window.  Day 2.

     Later at breakfast, I noticed that Terry wasn't there, I asked about him and was informed that, mornings were a bad time for him.  After breakfast we all strolled out to the back to where the horses were so we could mount up and start our long expedition.  Terry was already there leaning on the woodpile near the pasture, dressed for riding, with his eyes shut and looking like "death warmed over" (which is an American expression for looking really shitty).  I went up to him and asked if there was anything I could do for him.  Poor fellow really was feeling rotten and he told me it wasn't anything personal, but he didn't want anybody near him.  OK, so I'm gone already!  I was really concerned that he'd not be able to start the trip, looking the way he did, but Lisa told me he'd be OK by the time we were ready to ride out.  Eventually he perked up, we all mounted up and started riding westward away from the farm and toward the East African Rift Valley.

Native huts and farm fields below Mt. Maru as we head west.

Riding west not long after leaving the Farm.

 Go to Chapter 5

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