Yeah. A camel.
WFD, V and I made it from Rabat to Merzouga (by way of Marrakesh and passage through the High Atlas) and settled in to our bivouac in Merzouga with plans to go for a hike on the dunes and ride a camel or two. Of course I had to carry my 5dMKiii, 580EX and 24-70, right? And my Manfrotto 405 head, right? HA!
I succeeded in the hike on the dunes though have proved to be better on two feet than on four – I was thrown off of my camel.
It wasn’t painful. It sure was ugly.
After climbing on top of my (then) chilled out camel, he stood up and I felt like I was ten feet off of the desert floor. I balanced my camera bag behind me and my tripod and head in front of me on the miniscule handles attached to a leather belt lashed around the camel’s chest.
Note – do camels have chests?
We set off. Instant pain from my navel to my knees, if you know what I mean. My camel’s saddle was a blanket and nothing more.
After approximately half of an hour of pelvis-numbing slow progression up the dune I told Mustapha, our camel-guide, that it was time for me to get down . Mustapha simply looked at me and smiled. I said “enough” again. More quizzical staring and smiling. Mustapha finally understood that it was time for me to get down and attempted to get my camel to lay down. Instead, my camel dropped only his front quarters, leaving his big camel-butt six feet off of the ground.
I flew off. Splat.
After a moment of shock and embarrassment, I assessed my body – all there and functioning just as well as ever – and then took stock of my camera gear. Everything was fine. No problemos with any of the gear aside from some sand in the 405 plate. During our thirteen hour drive back to Marrakesh I cleaned off all of the sand and felt every bump on my bruised tail-end.
I am still shocked.
The Retrospective 30 is not a bag designed for desert trekking, nor is padded for being thrown from a camel. Are any bags designed for being thrown from a camel? Regardless, the bag and all of its contents made it through and are ready for their next adventure. Next stop? Somewhere without any camels.
PS – I am a big fan of the original Conan the Barbarian. All fans of that movie know exactly what Ah-nold would have done to that nasty old camel. PUNCH! 🙂