Stage 13: Farkha to Nile Ferry Camp
A pretty quiet night, and a good sleep; evidently the village of Farkha is so small that it doesn’t have a mosque. However, the morning took a twist with discovery of a dead flat front tire. Making matters worse, I lost the tube’s valve core in the dust and sand underfoot. Nothing else to do but to replace tube, making me the last rider out of camp by 15-20 minutes.
Finally got going with the help of some rear quartering to full-on tailwinds and made the lunch stop without incident. Today we followed the Nile (at a distance) all morning; here being an extremely wide valley, flat terrain and very unlike yesterday. But mostly favourable winds, at least to the lunch break. But after lunch, the road swung to the east, and the winds shifted from being cross to head... then it got very slow for about 50 kms. And of course our elevation gains came at about this same time. Luckily we eventually turned south again (and downhill) for the last hour or two and made up some time.
We’d seen evidence of artisanal mining operations yesterday; today, much more. As we climb, especially, the ground to either side of the road is very disturbed, piles of gravel and scraping of overburden down to bedrock, minor pits, and an increasing number of men with metal detectors. Eventually we see a more elaborate operation, 3 drill masts, water line, vehicles and heavy equipment. As we crest the top of our climb for the day, open cast mining is seen to the east... all this in a background of flood basalt and andesites; lots of quartz seen occurring through the latter.
Then the final effort to reach camp in what’s become a warm, early afternoon. A great surprise: our ‘desert’ camp is re-located to a resort under construction, the Shazali Resort adjacent to the village of Kudurma: so that’s where we’re staying. Cold water showers and eastern toilets welcomed without any reservation! The view westward out over the Nile is wonderful, and a welcome break to the eyes after the harsh terrain we were passing through most of today. Everyone’s spirits seem high.
At the riders meeting late this afternoon, Carrie briefs us on heat exhaustion / heat stroke; what we can do to prevent and remedy. This is the part of the trip that I’m dreading; I really don’t think I’m going to cope well at all with anything over 30° and definitely not +35°. However, the following white board noted, and we’ll deal with it when it occurs.