The Lion in Summer
It's 5 AM, and I'm lying on the Kalahari Desert, face to face with a male lion. He's 20 feet or so away, and I know, deep down inside, that he could cover that distance in less than 2 seconds. Nothing happens for a long time. Then, he moves.
It's two weeks earlier, and I'm gathering a backpack with a mix of very warm and very cool clothes, and stepping onto the Outback X3, the truck that we would drive across the desert. The Outback X3 is no normal truck. Imagine an enormous SUV. Then, slice off the roof. Add an extra 5 or 10 feet on the back with extra seats, a modified roof on the front half of it with lights and some seats on top, and an external outlet for a big freezer, to keep meat cold, and you have the Outback X3, the only vehicle you could ever need.
It was like a tank - unstoppable, but 50 times faster. On long stretches, it could easily hit 180, 200 mph. The Outback stops, and within 5 minutes, we can set up a camp site that we can take apart in 2 minutes.
There are 7 of us out here - my parents, my brother, myself, our tracker Thomas, our guide Pete, and their boss, Diane. We drove long stretches daily, often flying across the desert at 100 mph, so that we could cover 400 mile drives across the desert safely in less than 6 hours.
We take just enough clothes to survive, and pile into the Outback. We get going; our first long stretch takes us 200 miles into the heart of the Kalahari. We stop to make camp at 10 o'clock that night. Now, Diane wasn't only the boss,