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Easy day not so easy

Stage 50 (31): Karonga to Chitimba Beach

The rain woke me up at some point in the night, sufficiently enough at least to rouse me into zipping up the fly. Then another few hours of sleep. I’m relaxed this morning; supposedly an easy day, small climb toward the end but otherwise essentially flat to gently rolling along the lake shore. Ha!

Also, I was going to hang back in Karonga in order to hit the AirTel shop and purchase a local SIM card with some data. Breakfast done, I was at that shop something before the scheduled 07:30 opening; in the end, I didn’t get out of there until 08:00. I’d be well behind everyone else, including the sweep rider, but no big deal. They knew I was back there (here?) somewhere.

Weather overcast, virtually no breeze, low-20s but warming to high-20s (I think). The road more or less very very gentle rolling, no more than 1-2% grades (if that) and long long straight sections. Not overly inspiring in itself, but the mist-covered hills on my immediate right dramatically delineate the western edge of the Rift, while way out there to the east, across this amazing lake, a line of hills similarly marks the eastern boundary. So it’s pretty nice.

Traffic very light, once I’ve cleared Karonga. I spin along and after a while catch the sweep and then as the morning progresses, several other riders. It’s really very warm, humid; I have to remind myself to take a really good slug, or slugs, of water every 30 min or so. Lots of kids waving hello/goodbye although unfortunately often it’s the ‘money, money, give me money’ refrain.

I take a break at something after 50-55 km, and am greeted by a lady hanging out her washing to dry on the bridge. We’re passing over multiple small rivers draining the western hills into the lake on this coastal plain (if that’s the correct term for an extended lakeshore). I’ve seen people harvesting reeds in the rivers, and now this washing group. I ask permission before taking this photo.

Later on, this tree is providing home to a colony of weaver birds (don’t know which type of weaver exactly, but I must remember to ask Colleen who is apparently a birder).

The later morning becomes a bit of a slog, but all things come to pass and I get to camp a little before half-noon. I’m hungry! Lunch is the immediate order of the day, followed by a shower and a short snooze.  Later in the afternoon, the group’s energy  has definitely revived and a volleyball game ensues.

This Chitimba Camp is idyllic; a long way to travel, but sure nice one you get here.

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