22-Mar-2004 -- This is the second visit of a three-confluence hunt in Ethiopia. After our visit of 11N 38E we continued our trip through Ethiopia by public transportation, coming through the towns Bahir Dar, Werota and Addis Zemen. The last one is actually just a small village less than 20 km beeline from the CP. It is located on the major road connecting Bahir Dar with the historical city Gonder. At this time the bumpy, dusty road is just about to be sealed by a Chinese company. There is a turnoff to the confluence point in a village called Addis Zemen. From that turnoff a one-lane track leads 42 km to the mountain village Ebinat with the CP in-between these two places. Only one daily public bus starts in the early morning at 6 o'clock for Ebinat. But when we arrived in Addis Zemen, the bus had already left.
Luckily we were able to get a lift by a Jeep for a little baksheesh. In order to save battery for the GPS receiver, I turned it off for a while. After turning it on again, and to my surprise, we had passed the CP already. Such a mistake shouldn't occur an experienced confluencer, who is always aware about his position. We spontaneously decided to go for the CP on our way back, since this road was a dead end anyway.
In Ebinat we found out that there was no place to stay, so we went further into the dead end until we reached a village called Gohalar, which was not marked in any of our maps (GPS: 12° 24'N 38° 05'E). The kids from Gohalar were thrilled to see us, and the family running the hostel welcomed us heartily. They guided us to a nearby ancient rock church, chiselled out of one piece of rock! The church is called Zoz Amba and is worth a journey! See the priest of Zoz Amba.
The next morning we took the bus back. In Ebinat the bus broke down, thus we had a layover of 3 hours. Usually, people take these breakdowns very easy and show real patience, in opposite to people from the western world. We usually tried to go along with this mentality, but on a day of a confluence visit I had my difficulties practicing patience. The critical thing about confluencing is to start as early as possible in the morning. The rule reads: Any scheduling will get its delay. It always takes longer due to unpredicted events. And getting to the CP in darkness is pointless. Especially in Ethiopia, where the dusk comes quickly and all traffic stops when the night starts.
Back to the CP: It was already past noon, when we got to the nearest point to the CP on the road. I had predicted a distance of 5 km, but it was actually 8.2 km. Being backpacked with all our gear and with the heat at its peak, we soon realized, that we had a problem. 8.2 km beeline usually means a hike of 10 km or 20 km including the way back. On top of everything, the GPS pointed directly towards the top of a mountain. Nevertheless, we started hiking. But after 1 km we realized that we couldn't make it this way. The terrain was very uneven, the path winding, and we often had to ask locals for the right path. However, we had an idea: Guangelchen would wait in the shade of a tree with our luggage. And I put on my marathon shoes and started running, only equipped with GPS and the camera.
First I had to cross a river on foot, since the bridge hadn't been used for quite a while. With my time being so limited, I didn't think out a plan, I just ran where the GPS pointed. Thus I had to cross several valleys, fields, ups and downs on stony, difficult terrain. I surrounded the villages, because running right through them would mean to meet people, who would need explanations why I would come through. And there was no time for chats while Guangelchen would wait for me under a tree. For the last 2 km I had some steep climbs, but I managed to get to the CP. It is located at a fairly steep grade with some trees, bushes and a lot of stones. The confluence point itself had already been marked by a cow - with its droppings (see lower left of picture #1). The way back was much easier due to a track, which I was able to follow most of the time. When I reached Guang, I was seriously dehydrated but happy about the success. We hiked back to the road and managed to get transportation all the way to Gonder, where we spend the night. The story continues at 14N 39E.