“Ankasa” literally means “don’t talk.” Legend has it that once upon a time, travelers crossing the bridge spanning what is now known as the Ankasa River were admonished to keep quiet, lest they might attract the attention of malevolent dwarves, or Aboatia (literally, “small beasts”) who would proceed to throw the unlucky travelers off the bridge.
On 24 December, I went to Ankasa Rain Forest accompanied by my wife Yaa, my sister Esi, my brother Ekow, his wife Theresa, and my brother-in-law Solomon.
Left to right: Yaa, Esi, Ekow, Yours Truly, Theresa, and Solomon
My intention was just to stop by the visitor center and obtain some information, but my wife surprised me by saying Since we came all this way, why not go on a short hike? Of course I agreed. Accompanied by our intrepid guide, Appiah, we set out on our way through the woods.
We were barely underway when Appiah dropped a bombshell: he told us that Aboatia – about waist-high, he indicated – still could be found in these woods.
I was intrigued. These Aboatia, I asked him – are they hairy like monkeys or smooth like us?
They are smooth, he replied.
Are they black like you? He said Yes.
Do they wear clothes? Sometimes they wear loincloths, he replied, and the men have long beards.
“I’ve never seen one myself,” he added, “But I hear them at night. They sound like babies crying.”
We spent the holidays with family. My grand-niece had just figured out that she could make the cats scatter and run when she charged them, so she was making the most of her new-found superpower.
Christmas passed uneventfully.
But I knew I had to return to Ankasa in search of Aboatia.
All photos by author