|561> Indexing our own quivering cat's cradle canyon into Namibia|
8 Dec 2017 | Namaqualand, South Africa> Drove north from Cape Town... gradually out of the burbs + sprawl + semi-agricultural land... increasingly arid + barren, thru Springbok to some place called Naries retreat near Namaqua natl park. Shacking up in these sort of thatched domes nestled into boulders. Can actually climb bouldering problems in our room! Reminds us of Joshua Tree some, minus the Joshua trees... tho they do have these Quiver trees here that are essentially Joshua trees w/ aloes stuck on each branch end + strange waxy bark... like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Went for a hike, saw Oryx + Springbok (like an Impala) + a tortoise but not much else, sides the ubiquitous rock hyraxes surrounding our hut + just saw 2 distant critters that looked like mongooses, too big to be Meerkats + bushy tails. After dinner walked back to our hut in the darkness, amazing how many stars u can see, a rare sight for us.
8 Dec> Namaqualand is famous for it's wildflowers, but we missed the season by a few months... now it's summer, all the flowers parched + blown away. Backtracked to Springbok to take some mountain pass twards the beach.... numerous people including police warned us how treacherous the road was, but we didn't even need to stick 'er in 4WD... came out on the coast at Koinggaas, a a podunk mining outpost, seemed almost a ghost town. Most of the shore off limits, only one spot where you could go all the way to the beach. Like California, the entire coast socked in by a marine layer. Water rather cold. Then up coast to Kleinzee, another depressing semi-abandoned mining town, then further up to McDougall's Bay + Port Nolloth, nothing too spectacular, kind of depressing how people live. Then back east to Steinkopf + back to our place.
Dec 9 | Fish River Canyon, Namibia> Woke up 5 am, went for a run before it got too hot, about 15 km. Then pushed on north from Namaqualand, across the border, bit of a hassle, but not so bad. Across the Orange river (an actual river w/ water in it!) into Namibia. The first 100-200 km some of the more desolate landscapes we've ever seen. Nothing at all growing, like a giant gravel parking lot. To get to the north rim of the Fish River Canyon had to go this really roundabout way, ~300 km to go maybe ~50 km as the crow flies. Made a detour to see the «Quiver Tree forest» but seemed like a scam, having to pay to see a fenced in section of trees that we'd already seen plenty of. Continued on to the Fish River Lodge. Looking out now at the massive canyon, quite a view, room perched right on the edge. Very windy. Not much in the way of critters yet, just more oryx, springbok + kudus... all of which we've eaten on this trip, along w/ ostrich. The year we lived in Kenya never had the chance to eat game meat, but every meal here seems we get served game, often not by choice, just cuz it's a set menu like at this place.
Dec 10> Woke up 5 am before sunrise, went for a walk along the rim of Fish River Canyon to the east, then came back + went for a run in the other direction. Just hanging out today. Too hot (~40°+) + insanely windy to do anything but nap + read— rereading Cat's Cradle. Good a place + time as any to read about the absurd end of el moondough. «She said indexing was a thing that only the most amateurish author undertook to do for his own book.» Guess we're amateurs. Haven't had reliable Inurnet for days, a struggle just to check email, if you're lucky it downloads the header, but not the contents. Can't figger out how to download pics from our fancy SLR (w/ a telephoto lens) either, so will have to post those later. For now will just post quick landscape pics from our cheap-o... if we can even post this, might be a while til we have good enough Inurnet.
|560 <( )> 562 > Pan to a river's dead end into the red dunes of Namibia|