Day 2: Haghir

Nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
— John Krakauer, Into the Wild

The monotony of our existence necessitates us to be a functioning part of our society. To have a moment to break free from the familiar is life's greatest gift. Everyday we live in a bubble of familiarity. Every moment of that day someone somewhere else is living in another bubble totally different from ours. To break free isn't to be rebellious. To break free is to expand our exposure to that which differs from our existence. To wander is to learn. To learn is to grow.

A while ago I received a little note with a drawing of a cute girl dreaming. "When I grow up I want to be a tourist", it said. To some of my friends that is how I'm perceived. To me, a tourist is someone going on a vacation to relax in a different (but comfortable) setting. An explorer seeks places and environments that challenges her. An explorer travels to be uncomfortable. She travels to return as a different person.


This mountain range we're about to set foot to has the most inconsistent name ever. Google map and NASA call it Hajhir. It's written on my itinerary has Haghir. Wikipedia calls it Haghier. I've also seen Haggeher and Hajir. Whatever. It's the lump of mountainous region on the island. The highest point - Scand - peaks at 1500 meters, or about 4900 ft. It's a pretty big region with numerous large valleys and cliffs.  Today mark the start of our 4 day trek by foot through this region. We SUV'ed out from Hadibo through some interesting windy (not-really-a) road to meet our cameleers. There are 4 camels and 4 cameleers that will come with us, in addition to Khmel our cook, and Samed our guide. The camels will carry our big packs, tents, and kitchen gears. We carry our own day pack (which I later found out should really be more like day and night pack). A big caravan I'd say. 

The camels are funny. They are very smart. They understand specific sound call from their cameleer. They are usually free to wander around anywhere while they are not carrying supplies. I'm super impressed by their ability to navigate very treacherous terrains with everything they carry. One especially feisty one would froth at the mouth and then make ridiculous foaming action every time another camel is near by. Our cameleer said it is a sign of dominance. We call him frothy. Also, they poop A LOT. 

Our first 4 hours involved hiking up a red rock mountain in pouring rain. Slippery? Definitely. People here don't really bother to name anything that's not necessary. They don't name trails or peak or valleys. Here's a rock. There's a wadi. They do name little village settlements tho. That might be the only way people are able to communicate directions. The trails are really goat herding paths that connect little villages together. It's hardly a trail, really. But we did come across a few herders. Including this one with a teeny little baby sheep. So freaking cute.

 

It wasn't until the afternoon that we came across the very first dragon blood tree. Given how long I've been wanting to see this tree, the first encounter was rather uneventful. It's exactly what I thought it would be, actually. I suppose seeing one tree and seeing a whole forest of it would be different. It's a cute tree, don't get me wrong. But it was a lonesome one in the cloud mist. And there were other more interesting stuff to see.

Like this guy. A frankincense! It smells soooo good fresh.

I don't really know how long we walked the first day. All I know is we walked a lot. The terrain went from lush red rocks with big boulders to lumps of granite looking rocks with weird fungus growing all over to sweeping peaks of granites. It's hard to imagine that all of this shifts in the same day. Just merely an hour in to the day we already feel like we're the only ones here. This would be true for many days to come.

I can't begin to describe the moment I saw where we're camping tonight. We've been racing the sun for a little while now. Because we're nestled deep in the mountains it's important to know when the sun will past the mountain range, not when it will set. Usually you'll want to pad an hour or so to make sure you don't get caught in the dark once the sun passes the mountain line. Breathtaking. The little huts in the far distance are used in the summer seasons for goat herders to stay in. No one really owns them out right per se. they seem to be open for whoever happens to be by. 


Tonight Khmel made us spaghetti. Yum. JM pulled out the Star Walk app on his android phone to show the locals. It was super fascinating to see them play with it. The night sky here is so magnificent. Being able to see every little sparkles remind you of what you don't see at home, staring at the exact same thing. I ended the night with a solo celebratory swig of the only bottle of booze on the island that I smuggled in. Bulleit Rye, of course. Kampai, life. It's good to be here.