Trek notes

First morning back in “civilization” (written ~20 Nov.). What a disappointment. Yesterday for breakfast we had freshly brewed coffee, freshly baked delicious bread with honey and scrambled eggs on the terrace overlooking a stunning view. Today, Nescafe and factory made rolls. And this in the Canaan International Hotel. It does have an intermittent internet connection, but that is a mixed blessing—nice to miss the day to day politics and disasters.

After having been on the trek, we understand better that Mark liked to site the guest houses up high with great views. Shimbrety and Erar, our lasts nights lodging were on the edge of the bluff and not particularly close to the local housing. The staff stay the night because it takes too long to go up and back up in the dark. They start cooking about six in the morning. We get fresh bread and scrambled eggs. The bread is fantastic. Seheta and Gohgot are sited at the foot of the escarpment on the edge of land that is used for crops and grazing and not too far from local housing.

More details on route mostly for other trekkers follows. Our five-day four-night route was Idega Arbi-Gohgot-Seheta-Shimbrety-Erar-Rehya. Our route had several deviations from the usual or direct route. On day one, Idega Arbi to Gohgot, we took a slight detour to go the celebration of life I wrote about in the first post. We passed the trail from the valley floor up to the guest house to go to the celebration, then scrambled up from the celebration to the guest house. Not a direct or recommended route.

A note on spelling which is important when searching for information in Ethiopia. I’m not aware of any offical English (European) spelling for minor locations in Ethiopia. I generally followed the Tesfa Treking spellings. The main problem seems to be interchangeable use of i and e. For example, two college educated locals called Seheta, Siheta.

Day two, Gohgot to Seheta. We didn’t follow the Open Street Map published route. Our guide said it was to avoid some very steep parts at the beginning. We also took a detour to visit a church (). We may have also taken a minor detour to meet the manager of the Seheta Guesthouse in a nearby village. He took us to another celebration at a friend’s house. We were all ready to get to the guesthouse and relax (we were adjusting to trekking in a strange county and still suffering serious jet lag). But we went with the flow. Most (many) families have a saint and they celebrate his day. The celebration is equivalent to how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. An excuse to get the family and friends together. We were included. No gifts expected or required, although no doubt the guesthouse manager owes or maybe it doesn’t even matter. The celebration was much like the other but smaller. A dozen or so people. In the kitchen at least six young mothers and their under two-year olds. A priest came and spoke and blessed the food. And then we ate and drank.

Day three, Seheta to Shimbrety didn’t follow the normal route passing near Idega Arbi, because on day four we went via Idega Arbi for the Friday market.

When looking at the routes before hand, it was disappointed that we were sticking to what appeared to be roads rather than wandering among the fields on smaller paths. That turned out not to be an issue for two reasons. The first is that almost no vehicles are on the roads. We saw a couple of trucks and one or two motos. And the countryside is so interesting that the route mattered little. People, animals, children, schools, harvesting, plowing, the mountains.

Before the trip we downloaded some routes from Wikilocs to understand where we were going. We had a guide so weren’t concerned about route finding. Some links to those routes: Shimbrety to Seheta, Gohgot to Erar, https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/find.do?t=&d=&lfr=<o=&src=&act=&uom=mi&q=Tigray; I also looked at the trails labeled Tesfa Treking on Open Street Maps as well as four of the Community Guest Houses. I’ve tried to add the Seheta Guesthouse, but not sure it’s showing up.

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