Travel

The Elephant Crossing – Weekly Travel Photo & Product Review

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Posted on / by Alex Berger

The choice to cross obviously rested in the tusks of a powerful matriarch.  As she deliberated, surveying the water carefully for threats, her familial herd clustered around her with eyes open and surveying in every direction.  From time to time they would move ever so slightly closer to the water’s edge.  When they did, we readied ourselves, perched as we were in a raised observation platform atop a deck on the opposite side of the river. With equal care our eyes were focused as we surveyed the river as it stretched out before us…likely looking for the same threats the great matriarch worried about.  We spotted several crocodiles and a handful of seemingly docile hippos nearby. Were either threats? It was hard to know.

Then, after some 15-20 minutes of careful consideration she made the decision to go for it.  With a signal to the others the herd moved forward into the water’s depths. The chocolate milk colored waters obscuring the bottom while washing away the layer of dust and dirt the elephants used as sunscreen. As the elephants forged the river, the matriarch led the way. The young yearlings and their slightly larger siblings clustered inside the midst of the group and were flanked by their full-grown family members. It was a tribute to how intelligent elephants are and the care they show for their young.  It was also dramatic as we watched the young-lings submerge almost completely, only their trunk above the water, as the herd waded across the fast-moving waters.  Then, with far more haste and a veritable jump for joy the elephants broke free of the water on the other bank, crossed onto the soil, covered themselves in a fresh coating of dust and then made their way into the underbrush ready to eat and relax.

This photo is from the South Luangwa National Park in North Eastern Zambia.

Keen Boot Product Review

The Keen WP Durand hiking shoe (Product Review)

For those of you who follow along and monitor my Traveling Boot Shot project, you’ll know that for the last 8 years a pair of Keen Targhee IIs has featured distinctly in a majority of the shots. They’ve been trustworthy, reliable, and a great shoe. Over that time I’ve wandered across 22+ countries, 5 continents, and walked 3 pairs of the resilient shoes into the dust. After a quick break where I tried a few other pairs of hiking shoes Keen has brought me back into the fold with the chance to try out their Durand waterproof hiking shoe. The Durand is essentially an update to the Targhee II which re-imagines the signature Keen rock guard, re-crafts the front of the shoe for increased waterproofing, and modifies the overall boot for a slightly sleeker and even more durable product.

I had the opportunity to try out my new Durands over a week-long road trip through Jutland and was thoroughly impressed with them.  When I un-boxed them the first thing that I noticed was their durability and construction. There’s nothing flimsy about them and you’re never going to mistake them for a lightweight running shoe. These are shoes made for the out of doors and even strapping them onto your feet will leave you itching for a proper walk. One of the things that stands out the most for me is the updated approach to the nose of the shoe. While the old Targhees were reasonably waterproof, they did have an obnoxious crease near the toes which created mild issues when partially submerged. Especially in a small stream or in cases where there was running water. The Durands have replaced this feature with a robust reinforced leather nose cover which stretches farther up the shoe and seems specifically designed to keep water out. It also adds to the sleeker look and feel of the shoe.

Over the week-long trip I broke my Durands in on sand, in mud, a few small streams, moss-covered forest, fields and cobblestone city streets.  They performed well and I was thoroughly pleased with them. My pair of Durands were complimentary and provided for review as part of the Keen Ambassador program. However, this review is completely independent and the Durands are a product that I am currently actively using and which I happily recommend.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here.

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.

2 Comments

  • Renuka
    November 9, 2014

    A good hiking shoes is so important. It’s almost a lifeline for an explorer. Although I am quite happy with the pair I have, I will check out your recommendation too! (I love collecting shoes!) 🙂

    Reply
  • Meghan
    November 16, 2014

    With crocs and other other predators potentially lurking, this is indeed a tense scenario for many elephants in the wild … you did a great job capturing it in a photo!

    Reply

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