George of the jungle no more

Well, it is my middle name!

As I road north the jungle started to give way once again to The Sahel, but before that it had a couple of treats left for me…

In and around the official mines there are all sorts of hard scrabble little mining operations or “Galamsey” of various levels of illegality.  Since they are all basically manual operations, they only strip the top layer before moving on- destroying the jungle at a frighting rate while leaving the land behind them poisoned with mercury.  They aren’t terrible fond of people taking pictures, but their rather indifferent annoyance gives an insight into how the official illegality is generally unofficially tolerated in order to keep the peace.

While I had seen little evidence of the massive flooding in Ghana, crossing a small northern corner of Lake Volta (the worlds largest artificial lake) brought it quickly home.

Then, the strangest bit- not because rubber tree plantations are strange or rare in much of Africa, but because, for some reason, this one caught me just right and reminded me of tapped maple trees in Canada.  Stopping and walking through the trees gave a continual sense of deja-vue, though luckily I was able to resist dipping my fingers in the rubber to have a taste.

But, what would a final ride in the jungle be without some mud?  A quick detour down a side road and I was instantly back in ‘The Deep’- barely passable mud tracks, steep hills with unbridged streams at the bottom- the works!  It was wonderful fun, though honesty compels me to admit that much of the fun was from the knowledge that a nice tar road wasn’t too far away…

And then it was gone.  The last of the real African jungle was over.  In some ways it was good riddance since I was looking forward to the desert, but in others I knew I’d miss it.  Something about the deep jungle cries ADVENTURE! like nothing else.  It’s chaotic vitality draws you in; even when fighting through it, it feels more like fighting an overly strong embrace than something actually opposed to you.  A crazy aunt who you lovely dearly, but always make excuses not to visit…

I’ll be back next month, I promise- now just let my tire out of this rut!


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