Archaeology Field Journal – June 21, 2007 – Day 13

Today we loaded up the Land Rover and headed far south to the volcano Shompole. Shompole straddles the Kenyan-Tanzanian border and rests just north of Lake Natron. Shompole is a massive peak, similar in size to the peaks in the Adirondack’s but much more rigid and menacing looking. It dominates the otherwise flat landscape of the park. We had plans to drive through the conservation area, but the rainy season this year left a majority of the park roads flooded. The flooding is good for the animals but bad for the local Maasai and the tourists.

We were able to get the Land Rover close to Lake Natron but we had to walk the last mile into Tanzania. A few of us hiked up a large hill that was nicknamed Little Shompole. It was a difficult climb, even with the assistance of the Maasai footpaths, but the view from the top was fantastic. Up and down the coast of Lake Natron, Maasai were herding cattle and sheep. The bells around their neck echoed off the mountainside and created an eerie chorus, it was quite surreal. It was very peaceful at the top and I would have loved to spend the entire afternoon atop Little Shompole writing, but lunchtime was drawing close and we were all famished.

On our way back, Kyle and I decided to jump a small stream rather than walk all the way around it. I made it just fine, even with my pack, Kyle on the other hand didn’t fare so well and took a disgusting mud bath. He saw the humor in it though, which was good. I would have been a lot more upset.

Back at camp we enjoyed a warm meal and then I spent the remainder of the evening with some of the girls on top of the Land Rover discussing Maasai life ways and our upcoming ngoma.


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