Tuesday, November 17, 2009

4x4 adventure

The morning after the storm we set out early in our 4x4s after a quick breakfast and one last look at Erg Chigaga. Mustafa was a little more anxious this morning and rushed us along. We would find out soon why we needed to make good time.

The easiest way to navigate though the desert is to follow river beds and channels. So far in our trip Mustafa had a easy time navigating and even joked about his internal GPS of the sand people. That morning we understood that he was not joking.

We arrived at our first flooded river 15 minutes into our drive. It was not too deep for the 4x4s but the problem with fine sand is that combined with water they become a slick gooey mud that can bog down the best land machines. We saw several other vehicles taking detours and getting stuck crossing rivers. The guides consulted each other and we set out into the untracked sand. It seemed like we were going in circles as they detoured every time we saw a flooded channel. Mustafa stayed calm and assured us that this was his home and backyard. He was right, and his expertise soon led the way for the rest of the convoy which had began to follow our lead. We navigated into the rocky mountainside and we avoided the flooded desert roads.

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