Monday, March 25, 2013

Parce Qu'il Est Là

Me: "J'ai monté Mont Cameroun." 
Cameroonian: "Ah, tu as fait le tourisme." 

Just got back from climbing Mt. Cameroon:

We took three days.  I went with a fellow PCV buddy and 3 Europeans, a guide and several porters.  We reached the summit during the second day and got back to Buea at about 1:30 pm on the third day.   My shoes, repaired by a cobbler about 3 months ago, barely survived.

Overall, it was a good hike.  However, my buddy and I were thinking that there were ways to improve the hike.  For example, the food could've been better.  Granted, we didn't pay that much for food, which probably explains why we got bread and chocolate Tartina spread (similar to nutella) for breakfast.  Not that great for a 5-6 hour hike.  We probably should've brought our own food like trail mix to munch on while we were hiking.  Dried fruit like mangoes or pineapples probably would've also been a better option instead of the chocolate sandwich or even the bananas which became squished in the backpacks after a day of hiking.  The dried fruit would be lighter to carry, too. 

Trash was also a problem:

Its not just at this one spot -- water bottles were all over the mountain (eg our campsite).  Kind of ironic that there were signs all over the mountain telling people to "leave nothing but footprints": 

Our tour guide said he would bring back the bottles we brought and then bring them to Limbé, the nearby beach.  Not really sure why he said Limbé.  Hopefully, not just to throw them away there.  Alternatively, I told him that I heard there's a facility in Douala called SOCAVER that supposedly recycles plastic bottles. 

Bringing water filters might've also reduced the dependance on plastic bottles.  Or have the tour group filter the water at their headquarters and then use that water for the hike instead of buying a bunch of new water bottles for each hike. 

I'll give the tour group props though for bringing reusable plates and utensils, but they used way too many plastic bags for the vegetables they brought. I was telling my buddy that perhaps the park should have bins to separate trash from recyclables and have some kind of clean-up crew.  Sure, that'll cost money, but the park could maybe start charging people an entrance fee or have some kind of donation box.   After all, its mostly tourists who climb the mountain anyway.  They can afford it.