baobobs + primates in Lower Luangwa, apr 2013

Yesterday morning I was able to sneak away from my meetings for a run on Leopard's Hill, just south of Lusaka proper. Ironically, Leopard's Hill is the Lusaka equivalent to Cougar Mountain in name and terrain. The massif is a complex set of small hills and creek-carved valleys which are all dotted with verdant forest and dense undergrowth. I set out to go about 26km as outlined on a GPS map I found on the internet. The way I learn about a new place in nature is to wander--though I am rarely lost. This time was no exception.

I felt the altitude as I worked up rain rutted paths to the top of a minor summit. The view stopped me: I could see all of Lusaka in one direction, the lush bush fell away in the other direction without end. I decided to take another path back to my starting point and quickly found myself rolling over unfamiliar hills. As the hard path turned to grass-covered dirt, I encountered a series of black mambas and black wild dogs who slunk unobtrusively away. A team of unfamiliar birds greeted the cloud breaks with sound.

I came to a farmer's plot. An old man broke the ground with his hoe under a bright sky. I stopped to ask him the way to the road. He called me by name (how did he know my name?) as he described the short route out of the bush. After following his instructions for 1km, I popped out on the red road where I began--on time for my ride back to the hotel. Once again, I trusted my intuitive navigation system which proved more effective than a compass.

written apr 2013