06 Feb 2015
On Tuesday my lab mate and I were debating- you see, he had heard elephants tons of times, but never seen one. On the other hand, elephants seem to appear out of nowhere when I’m in the forest and might be fond of chasing me as well. So we wondered: who’s luck was the strongest?
My lab mate led the group on the long walk back to camp. As we shuffled home, laughing and swapping jokes after the trek down into the swamp, across the swamp, and back up the hill to the main road, you could smell them. I swallowed, telling myself that the odor was probably a few hours old. Surely they were gone by now. Surely.
Then our leader stopped cold. A gray shadow in the twilight. Flapping ears. Fifty meters ahead and just left of the trail.
We whispered. Crept along quietly to confirm our first suspicions. Squinted into the fading light at the spot where the trail turned. Greener and light on one side and darker on the other and--
Yes. There was Anjojo. With friends.
There was no suitable way around them. I felt betrayed by the GPS. We waited for a bit, hoping that our new friends would move further into the forest. Finally, the coast was clear enough to press on. The journey was slow, cautious, dark. I barely took a breath.
We passed the spot. I sucked in the twilight air. Let my shoulders drop from my ears as I exhaled. Picked up the pace to make up for lost time.
Sitting right on the path and looking like might live out the rest of its long elephant life without leaving the spot. There were no side trails nearby. So we waited. With baited breath.
Finally, the elephant moved along and let us pass. We made it home safely and soundly. No charges, no chases, and my lab mate saw his first TWO elephants instead of just one!
So I guess our luck was about equal.
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This blog is a forum share my personal experiences as a field researcher and traveler.