28-Nov-2007 -- After a steaming bowl of "café au lait" and an omelet sandwich, we left from Gaoua heading generally south on a well maintained packed dirt road. We made a brief stop to visit the gravesite of an important chief (king) of the area (Hien Bagor) located about 10 km east of the confluence point.
One of our primary concerns in reaching this point was the stream showing on the topographical map, the GPS, and the road map. Leaving the gravesite of the chief, we were soon on the bridge which had been constructed to cross the stream. Looking below at the width and depth of the stream, it was obvious we would either need to be ready to swim or find another route.
Continuing south, we drove through Batié and turned on a road heading northwest (towards Kampti). After several abortive attempts, we located a path which cut through the forest. It was extremely rough and we were fortunate to have the power of our 4-wheel drive Mazda!
With a little over 6.5 kilometers left to reach the point, we could go no farther. We gathered up water bottles, cameras, snacks, and extra batteries in the backpacks, tightened our shoes laces and began the hike.
The most direct route took us through rugged terrain including several sections of briar patches and heavy grass over our heads. And, we still ended up crossing the stream! The first time, it was a short, relatively solid bridge of 3 logs dropped right across the banks. The second time, though, it was an elevated network of vines, logs, and sticks some 8 feet (2.5 m) above the water level.
As we made the trek, the temperatures continued to climb. Reaching the confluence point, it was almost 120°F (48°C)! We made the pictures and turned around for the return hike. It took us three hours to get there, how long to get back? What's that? Thunder? No way. Rainy season has been over for a month. Again? Sure enough, the wind began to pick up and the sky got cloudy. Knowing that we had to cross the stream (twice) and then turn the truck around and make our way back out of the forest made us quicken our steps.
We were over an hour away from the truck when it began to sprinkle rain. Thankfully we had crossed the stream by then. About 45 minutes from the truck, the sky opened up and dumped bucket loads of water on us. It poured down and there wasn't a dry spot to be found. We finally arrived at the truck after the sun had completely set, wet and totally exhausted.
Another successful visit! Though the project shows this point to only be 3.7 km E of Wélinbélé, we can assure you there is nothing around there other than a few random Burkinabé households and undeveloped land as far as the eye can see.
"Congrats" are due to Joyce and Tami for persevering in spite of blisters, briars, and a blazing sun!
Continued at 11N 2W.