To Lone Tree

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.

12 thoughts on “To Lone Tree

  1. Amazing and beautiful photos! Even more amazing is that it took you more than 3 months to make a LOTR reference! Looking forward to seeing you in less than 2 months.

  2. Wow, how amazingly gorgeous! I’m so glad you got to experience it – thanks for sharing your pics with us ; )

  3. WOW Alan, the scenery is amazing!!! Andy and I would have LOVED to go! Looks like y’all had a fun time! Have a good week!

  4. What an adventure you’re on, Alan!! With every post I just get more and more thrilled for you. :o)

  5. LOVE pngcamp9 image. that is just gorgeous. that is how i envision part of the valley path of ‘much afraid’ on her journey in the book “Hinds Feet on High Places”. excellent, perspective, excellent subject, excellent photo.

  6. pngcamp4 as well. funny how the same image reminds us of different books we have read. that’s why i much prefer the book to the movie – always. once i’ve seen a movie, i can never use my imagination again while reading that book – the movie images always pop in my head instead. anyway….still reading and loving your posts – even though i don’t comment. still praying for you. much love

  7. These are my favorite pictures so far. That trail following the tops of those mountains is amazing – I wish I had been on that hike. Did y’all sleep in a tent because I didn’t read anything about one? Have you tried taking pictures of the stars with that camera? Are you in need of a backpack because one of my co-workers gave me his external frame one when he moved to a different job?

  8. Jafar! The whole time I was thinking how much y’all would have loved this hike. Some of my students are doing a three day mountain climb in a few weeks. I was going to join them, but I’ll be in the land of the hobbits.

    We did have a tent (three, in fact) but I failed to include that picture. I’ve tried getting some star shots, but I need a more powerful lens to make it look decent.

    As for the backpack, yes – I could certainly use one, I just don’t know how you’d get it over here. :)


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