27-May-2005 -- At 9:15 a.m., after a wonderful breakfast of mangoes and pancakes with maple syrup, David & Tami Wood, Krista DeBoer, Nicole King and Katie Hutchinson left from N'Dorola, Burkina Faso, for the 33 kilometer trip to 12N 5W. There was a decent vehicle road, albeit laterite, to Famberla where we turned to the Northeast. Coming into the village of Morolaba, we turned to the North. The road here was less maintained and was more of a bush path. We could tell that big transporter trucks had been down it, though, so we locked the 4-wheel hubs and kept driving. As we crossed over the Mali border (as given by the WorldMap in the Garmin GPS), we all cheered. After several subsequent turns, we came to 6.33 kilometers from the point where all visible paths stopped. We were facing a forest. Filling up our water jugs, grabbing the camera and the GPS we took off.
Hacking through the woods took some time, but we were thankful for the shade afforded by the tree cover. Walking on, we came to an area that had been denuded of its trees; deforestation continues. 2km later, we were out in an open field where several farmers were preparing the ground for this season's crop. A few kilometers further, we came across a decomposing cow resting in the bottom of a dry streambed. Near the cow was the remains of a magnificent tree cut down for the heart wood.
At the point 12N 5W, there was little to see, with the exception of 5 people rejoicing in a task well done! It was 12:35 p.m.
We hiked back to the truck, picking up a few thorns and scratches on the way and were back in N'Dorola by 3:45 p.m., even stopping for a cold coke in the village of Séguédougou on the way! There were three significant accomplishments on this trek. First, Katie had never before used a GPS but she took the lead and directed us to the point. Krista was still recovering from a bout of malaria but made the trek without any problems. Nicole did the entire trek in flip-flops!