Tuesday, November 8, 2011

finding water at avis dam

I woke up Sunday morning feeling horribly thirsty and missing the water. This is the first time I’ve lived in a city that wasn’t built near river, or a Great Lake, or an ocean, or any body of water. I’ve adjusted pretty well to life in the desert, despite the chaos it has released on my already peeling skin. I enjoy heat without humidity and I’m not exactly crying over the fact that every day is sunny. But it also feels kind of weird to never see any bodies of water except in rich people’s swimming pools. I’ve even been finding myself missing the Ottawa River. Luckily, that day we ladies decided we were going to go hiking at Avis Dam with Hector.

The original plan had been to road trip to Swakopmund, but that fell through because K had to work. Then the plan was to go to N/a'ankusê, but all of the activities were closed except for the carnivore feeding, which K described inexplicably as feeling like a cheap cheetah strip club. Finally we decided that Avis Dam was close enough to the city to check out for a Sunday afternoon trip. It still amazes me that less than five kilometers from my house is this beautiful green space of savanna and flood plains and an actual body of water. Like the outskirts of Ottawa, you don’t have to go very far to leave the city and be surrounded in the wilderness.

We brought hike expert Hector along because I didn’t want a repeat of the last time I went hiking with K and J (where we failed to follow the yellow brick road). Hector, however, being the advanced Hasher/hiker that he is, likes to cut his own paths ("Trails are for the weak!"), and we found ourselves scrambling up steeper rocks. It’s good for the heart. At some point the “trail” ended and we had to climb up a small cliff, which in itself would have been fine, except that the rocks were completely covered in scurrying ants.

“You must go quickly or the ants will crawl on you,” Hector warned.

Well, that’s good motivation for anyone to move quickly. I’m pretty sure gym teachers would have better luck getting their sluggish students to run during phys ed if they lined the tracks with ants. Picture a scene from Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, moving fast doesn’t actually stop the ants from getting a good hold on your sneaker. Hours later, you’ll still find a stray ant crawling around in your pony tail. There is no winning against the ants. It’s kind of like trying to fight against sand in the desert.

At the top of the mountain we got a good view of the dam, which was also good for the heart. I’d been missing water. There were a lot of people around walking their dogs, fishing, playing with their kids. We decided we’ll have to come back here for a picnic at some point.

afterwards, Allison and I brought Hector to Joe's Beerhouse to meet up with Andrew for post-hike drinks. It turns out that Andrew works for Hector's wife. Windhoek is small.