You Only Live Once – this was just a mere statement I heard my uptown friends use, until I came back to Nairobi that Saturday evening from Kinangop. I had done Ngong Hills and Crater Lake hikes before, so I assumed this wasn’t going to be an issue. My hike partner on the other hand was a first timer…she has her version of the hike. 🙂
We arrived pretty early, was there by 10AM. The weather was perfect, we were in good shape, carried the right hiking clothes and shoes and even had our guide ready..or so we thought. First, we had underestimated the time the hike takes. While we thought we were to take 2 hours to top and back, we were informed the hike would be not less than 5 hours. FIVE HOURS!!!! We were to even carry something to nibble while on rest during our ascent, we had nothing. We had to do with the army biscuits and can of beans we were offered by our guide. By the way, can I just say those biscuits taste so much better than they did when I was back in boarding school. Back then we called them ‘dawa*’, for obvious reasons. Still feasted on them though, story for another day.Minor setbacks, yes? We were soon on our way. Heard of this – Failing to plan is planning to fail? It’s real stuff guys. I was told to train and visit the gym for this, but my procrastination never allowed me to get to the gym. I woke up to run a few days, but that was it. I was so unfit, and gained some extra unwanted fat. Then there was the issue of the previous night, I won’t say much..but sleeping at 1AM on the eve of a hike is not the best of ideas. My partner was worse, she had never been to a gym…EVER!
We had two rests before we even reached halfway the hike, which the guide claimed we did not. I say claim because to me we did. Took us 3 hours to that place, who takes more than three hours to reach halfway a 5-hour hike? Not me. I would have tried to go further up, but it started drizzling. I know you will think that is an excuse, it is not. If you have watched Game of Thrones or Planet Apes you will understand, mountains are not safe when it’s raining.
So we were descending after a loooong rest, and needed a rest again before we were back to the forest station at the foot of tthe Elephant Hill. Oh, that’s the name of that hike trail. I was told the ‘Elephant’ comes from the jumbos that traverse the mountain, but I think it comes from the bouldness of the hill.
All in all, it was a pretty good experience. You should have seen our shoes and clothes on our way back.
dawa* – Medicine in Swahili