Friday, April 18, 2014

Elephant Rock

Two hours north N'Djamena is a cool rock formation known as "Elephant Rock."  The road to the rock formations is paved to the quarry but at that point you have to drop into 4-LOW for the deep sand to the base of the rock formations.  The rock shapes and fractures remind me of volcanic rocks in the US like Devil's Tower in Wyoming or other places in Idaho.

I camped out at the rock three years ago on my first trip to Chad and it was great to finally get back to the rock.  The only difference that I could see was that the quarry located next to the rock formations had expanded and had started to extract rock closer to the Elephant.  If I end up staying in Chad much longer I may have to bring my ropes and climbing gear to get on top of the elephant!

All the kids and eventually many of the adults from a local village came to check out the Americans climbing up to the rock.  A group of kids that spoke decent French adopted us and one became my guide and helped me climb up and down the rock by pointing out the best route and routes to avoid.  Turns out that the wide cracks that I would usually ascend are used by many of the locals at toilets as (of course) none of the locals had toilets or running water.

Our guides coming from their village
As we were climbing into our vehicles for the ride back to N'Djamena giant herd of cattle passed by the base of the rocks.  They went straight to the shade of the thorn trees for some relief from the warm 40*C day.  The cattle were herded by nomads on camelback who at noon were also in the shade of nearby trees.  Not much happens in the heat of day during the hot season in Chad.