In celebration of one of my 10th graders’ birthdays (which is tricky business over here, by the way… if someone is born on the morning of October 22nd here, but it’s only the 21st back in their “home” country, are they born in the future? The mind boggles.), a group of seven guys headed south for an overnight jaunt over the hills.
Though it rained all three days before the journey, the day itself was as clear and charming as can be. The terrain was mostly tall grass (we were on our guard for velociraptors), a clay path, a river to ford, and few patches of trees. Only a two-hour trek from Ukarumpa, we could see our houses shrink from afar the higher we climbed.
Our destination was Lone Tree Hill – a hillside with about a thousand trees on one side and none on the other. Apparently, there used to be only one tree on the spot, but the government decided to plant a whole forest on half the mountain to aid local builders. If you have the man-power, I’m told, you have the right to march yourself up the mountain, chop down the finest tree in the forest, and bring it home free of charge. Fortunately, that was not our goal this go-round.
What follows is mostly pictures of the spectacular scenery from atop Lone Tree. We saw everything from a splendid sunset to a silent, starry night – and in the morning, the mist rose from the Bai River and enshrouded our homes below.
It was, in almost every sense, just the sort of trek I always imagined my favorite hobbits taking out of the Shire – complete with all but the soft humming of Samwise Gamgee.