My simple understanding of the geology of Ethiopia is the following and probably a gross oversimplification. 75 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period magma uplifted a large dome (the future Roof of Africa) that later got split by the Eastward movement of the Somali plate, that created the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Great Rift Valley. Bale mountains is on the Southern part of the spilt dome. The altitude is between 3000 and 4100 m.
Approaching the Alpine region from Goba
High altitude farming
Above the treeline
There is wild coffee plants growing in the lower forest. Kaffe is a nearby region and the origin of "coffee"
Torch Lily (Kniphofia) a tall flower with lots of nectar
This is the Google Satellite view of Bale Mountains with the Sanetti plateau as the brownish area. We did a round trip from top right to bottom left.
Many great big round rocks attested of the volcanic origin (ejecta) of the area but the edges of the volcano were hard to distinguish as it is very eroded.
Hundreds of little glacial ponds are connected but shiny ribbons of rivulet and great variety of rocks covered with lichen including a pretty bright orange lichen.
Heather (Erica arborea) grows everywhere
Giant lobelia on the Sanetti plateau
They are 9-10 m tall
Miriads of little ponds attract migratory birds
The dead flower spike of the Giant Lobelia.
The floraison ! Not very colorful !
The Ethiopian Wolf research center
Unfortunately this is not a real National Park, as herders are allowed to let livestock graze and damage the delicate environment :(
At the edge of the plateau the altitude drops rapidly. This is where the blue line of the road crosses over the edge between the brown plateau and the green escarpment
The prevalent winds from the plain rise to pass over the high plateau and moisture in the air condenses forming large clouds right at the edge of the plateau. This was neat to observe.
At the far edge of the plateau the terrain falls steeply down and the wind-carried moisture condenses into clouds. So, one can stand in the vertical edge of the cloud for very nice images.
The short heather from the plateau, 30-90 cm tall, gave way to heather trees about 3-5 m tall, heavily festooned with Spanish moss and luxuriant green moss: very nice, but all foggy.
Arriving in the Harenna forest, the heather tree gave place to a real jungle of very tall branched tree (Filicium-Warburgia-Podocarpus-Celtis forest). Progressively we start seeing local people.
Returning from Rira village across the Sanetti plateau
The towering edge clouds
Beautiful orange lichen )but I couldn't find the name!)
Another wheel-shaped one
A horse grazing among ponds
A storm was arriving. On the way back in the highland we saw a woman hitchhiking with a baby on her back. We stopped to get her. She apparently had been waiting for 4 hours in the cold wind and with no rain gear. I was worried she would get hypothermia! Apparently, all the rare buses she was hoping to get into had been full and it was getting to be the end of the day!! She also gladly accepted a water bottle!