Monday, August 8, 2011

Mt. Mulanje

After hiking down from the Mushroom Farm, we took a bus to Mzuzu. Talullah and Jo decided to take the overnight bus straight to Blantyre, but Jeanette still wasn’t feeling very well so we stayed the night in Mzuzu. This was Jeanette’s first chance to stay in the kind of hotel I typically picked in Tanzania. If some of my siblings are reading this (especially Noah), they’ve already translated that to mean a dump. It was the sort of place that hadn’t been painted in 20 years, the water didn’t necessarily work, the door lock was somewhat sketchy, and the sheets were bought second-hand. But, it was cheap and clean and the bed, with World Wrestling Federation sheets, was very comfortable. We had a good night’s rest before our 16-hour bus journey the next day. Suffice that to say it was long, the bus was crowded, and we’d experienced better but we’d also had worse.  

We only spent one night in Blantyre before heading to Mt. Mulanje. Oddly enough, though, during our 15 hour stay I managed to get lost while looking for camping fuel and ended up getting a short hitch back to the hostel with a man who turned out to be good friends with the rich Indian who drove us to Kande Beach. It’s a small world after all…. 

We considered doing a multiday hike on Mt. Mulanje, a massive, towering granite mountain near the border, but the day that we arrived was so cloudy and rainy we couldn’t even see the mountain. Tallulah and Jo convinced us that instead, we should just do a day hike with them the next day then travel together all the way through to Mozambique. When weighing our options, we decided they were worth changing our plans a bit. It’s very nice to have good travel companions who are interesting, especially when heading to a country where very few people speak English. The next day the weather was crystal clear and the hike through tea plantations and lush green forest was amazing and steep. Luckily, my only hiking skill is going uphill, so I was fine. Jeanette still had the hideous cold that we keep exchanging and had a bit more trouble. It was beautiful, but probably good that we chose a day hike and to stick with our new friends because….

Mt. Mulanje

Mt. Mulanje with tea plantations in front.

Blue monkey - new species for us!

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