Another 'blue sky' day. After paying off our assistant cook and assembling for the now routine 9 o'clock start, we strolled up the Emli Valley, welcoming the shade from the cedar trees with their light coloured pointy-up cones. It was a hot day.
The switchback path, if you can call a single five kilometre zigzag that, took us along a sandy path, past thistles and spurges, gently up to about the same height as yesterday - 2500 metres. On the way, Tessa lost the mouthpiece of her platypus (piped drinking system), and a search party set off back to comb the area in which it had been spotted. This took some time. The seven strong vanguard led by Turan hadn't noticed the incident, which was hidden from their view. So it was a relieved Turan, who had returned down the trail to investigate, when I explained the problem (I'd gone on to meet him). The rest of the vanguard, sadly, didn't buy my 'We saw a Mountain Lion' story!
Before this incident, on the turn of the switchback, a needle of rock came into view. "I want to climb that" announced Sue. "You can't" asserted Turan. So she made do with the above photo.
After passing a large German group heading in the opposite direction, the only people we have encountered on the trail, we continued along a high path to a succulent spring. Time for lunch, with a welcoming cool breeze.
Dave 'my knee's gone pop' wasn't with us today - he took the easy route in the jeep, so it was just seventeen who continued along a lovely contouring path via a distinctive rocky tor, followed by some entertainingly skittery scree, to our destination - a host of two tone green tents in an even greener field that is subject to constant irrigation by way of a sprinkler.
En route we saw a Kestrel hover and dive, passed some 'French tents', my nose had a bleed, and Turan became the proud owner of a secondhand high heeled shoe.
The campsite is in a splendid position with a fine mountain backdrop as well as views across a deep valley towards the continuing chain of mountains to the west.
After our 4pm arrival, and 30 minutes of tea and biscuits and Turkish Delight, most of us set about washing off the dust and grime of the day. Some used the campsite showers, as usual - unheated; Sue and I chose the garden sprinkler. Interesting!
Time flew by. A 'marmot' was spotted in camp. It looked more like a ferret to me. Turan explained that in his youth he would catch these poor beasts by pouring water down their burrows and then chasing the soggy animals that emerged, weighed down by their wet fur, to exhaustion. I expect they were then savoured as a breakfast titbit in much the same way as Sue downed her grasshopper delicacy for breakfast along with this morning's boiled egg.
Sunset was magical, with pink light on the mountains above us, and great opportunities to capture silhouettes against the setting sun.
Dinner in the large open tent with its trestle table for 18, was the usual jolly gathering, after which some of us managed to stay up until after 9pm!
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