To call Inzi a mountain is a bit of a running joke for us. Ever since we arrived in Assosa, we have looked at the rocky outcropping beside the town and said, “We’re going to climb to the top of that.” At the top of the short hike, there are commanding views of Assosa town and all of the plains around up to the hazy blue mountains in the distance. It’s kind of fun to try to spot the hotel that you’re staying at and see how big the market area is in reference to the town. Then, after seeing how big the market is in reference to the town, look over to see the huge stadium in construction. It looks like it can swallow up the whole town!
We have been up three times now and each time, we are getting a little better. The first time was quite an exploratory adventure that involved walking past by the two gas stations with line-ups of bajaj on the road towards the airport, past the high fence compound of UNHCR, past some little stores, bars and cafes until the sidewalk finally ended. We veered off the main road to walk though some countryside and it started off quite pleasant past a little makeshift soccer field where some kids were kicking around a dusty red ball and then through a green, leafy eucalyptus grove. However, then piles of half burned garbage started appearing little by little until it was wide swaths of blackened earth, charred but not completely burned away garbage and a surprising number of cow bones. We made it to the main dirt road up to the water resevior tanks partway up the hill where there are the downed powerlines (thankfully without power as we saw goats lazily grazing right by it) up to the armed guards at the water tanks. We asked permission to cut across the water tank site and jump over the barb wire and then skamper up the rocks.
The second time, we just turned off the main road at the reservoir road and walked up and saw some baboons in some garbage, reminding me of dump bears back home! We walked back along the water pipes, discovering the beginnings of a short cut but couldn’t find a path at the end so we had to cut through someone’s home.
The third time we hit jackpot so here are the instructions in case you find your self in Assosa and also gazing at the hill:
Walk on the main road towards the airport past the UNCHR regional headquarters past where the sidewalk ends, then turn at the kids soccer field and walk through it to the water pipes on the other side, continue up along the water pipes until the water tanks, skirt around the reservoir and then it is just a little more up through the large bouldery rocks from there.
In addition to the amazing views, especially around sunset when the temperature cools and the setting sun bathes everything in a rosy light, you may be lucky to see some baboons up there! A young man named Yohannes (who randomly also has a disc golf course in the forests behind the university) has made friends with the alpha baboon in the area and visits the baboon weekly for the past two years, bringing a couple treats with him each time. Just be warned, these are wild animals and baboons don’t like the share! If you start eating a little of the same food you’re offering him, he gets a little growly and then it’s time to start hiking back down…quickly.