We weren't the first to rise. The local villagers beat us. They must have been up at 6am on Saturday morning. We could hear the faint singing and talking as they passed by on the road a few hundred yards away - perhaps going to a funeral or to market according to the MPL owner.
We finally emerged from our room around 7:30 for breakfast before heading out on a self-guided mountain bike tour. According to the topo maps, a combination of road, tracks and trails could link together four villages. Off we went down the road descending more quickly than any car - not that there were any, but simply the mtbs were in their element on the rocky bumpy road. At Fume, we headed east up a similar rocky road through Gbadzeme village. Although we pass through slowly and quietly, the sudden appearance of two freaky looking white people on bikes wearing helmets is reason enough for the local kids and adults to stop, turn, wave and(thankfully) offer, "you are welcome." It is such a pleasant contrast to the annoying "obruni" we encounter in Accra, and simply ignore. The road passes through the village center and into groves of casava, where there is a split. A quick consult of the map is confirmed by the local farmer who points us to the right. The road, now mostly just and overgrown road with a singletrack down the center rises quickly testing our legs a bit before topping out at Amedzope.
At Amedzope we were greeted in the town center by three teens who escorted us to the very oddly prominent visitor's center. We explained our route to the VC staff. One recommended that the trail is not worth riding to the next town - Kpedze. We had been assured by the MPL owner that the same route was ridden the week earlier. Another staff agreed that the trail does exist, and pointed us down the road. Before leaving Amedzope, we grabbed a quick drink. Shouldn't every tough climb have a bar at the top?
The next few miles of trail were all singletrack. Surely not recreational trails given the number of people walking with bundles of firewood or handsawn planks of lumber on their heads. Sweet trails none the less. We were mindful to control our speed and greet any locals we met along the way.
After another 45 minutes or so of gradual descending, we had to make another fork-in-trail decision. We chose left this time following the sounds of singing and drumming presumably on the fringe of Kpedze. The 1973 topo map was not so much help at this point, but we guestimated that the trail must lead to the village. The singing and drumming, and occasional kaboom that sounded alarmingly like a gunshot but was probably just a kaboom, was just the Kpedze "Kid Fest" wrapping up for the day. We managed to sneak through to the main road rather unnoticed.
The rest of the ride wandered to Dzolokpuita around the south base of the range. From there, we headed up a well maintained dirt road back up into the range through Vane, Biakpa and finally the MPL.
We were back at the MPL well before dark, showered but tired, relaxing and rehydrating ready for another nice meal. We're excited to return knowing that there are so many more trails and roads to explore on the bikes.