Dear Travel Diary: Into The Hills Part 1

I will not tell you about the 20 calls I received on the D-day morning of cancellations. Or the 100L of water we collectively drank. Or the joy we had when we saw it rain 100M from where we were and yet did not feel a drop fall on us. I will tell you of how we made to the top and back.

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We set out at around 12noon, most of us hungry, not for food but for that challenge we were going to encounter. Personally, I had this in mind “Where To In 2015?”. Those who were doing it for the first time were fore-warned, it’s not any man’s hike.

Can I just say we all were dressed for a picnic, not a hike. I was in khaki shorts, a t-shirt, jamper and rubber shoes. Frank too. Marvin was worse, in sweatpants and shades(not sunglasses). Cynthia and Yvonne were not aware of our destination, I presume. Or they thought it was a walk, the kind we do in the evenings.

Cynthia, Yvonne and Marvin.(L-R)

It only took 30 minutes for guys to start panting and giving excuses. And we were not yet even halfway. I’d write what Pauline said but I might not be here to write part 2 of this if I try that. The start of the hike is pretty gentle. The presence of windmills as you go up will keep your attention shifted from the long distance you are covering. The 100 photos we were busy stopping to take also gave us a chance to rest and catch our breathe. The windmills are something that amazes everyone when you visit these hills.

We were soon at the midpoint of the first part of our hike, one hour later. We were to rest here, but being the youth we were..adrenaline got the better of us. I am sure if taken back and given a chance to rest, half of us will do so at this point. Pauline was almost giving up, Richa was quiet, Frank was already speaking the opposite of what he meant and Doro was just laughing, I guess that was a cry inside. I think the view is what made them determined to keep on.

The View
The View

We trekked on, leaving the windmills behind. The hills now just in-front of us. You could see the faces of Linda and Doro getting pale, the smiles fading away. The beauty of hiking. Haha! By now, Marvin, Yvonne, Cinthier and Pauline had somewhat fallen off the pace. We had to take another stop, and wait.

The faces were already gloomy, the water bottles half empty and the legs now a burden. Meanwhile there was a group of tourists going down who said hi as they walked by. Frank made an observation, “Umenotice wale watu wote wanashuka have empty water bottles”. It was getting tough.

Another 20 minute rest and we were off. It was now half past one, with 7 hills to overcome. This is the hardest part of the Ngong hills hike, and I must say the worst. Haha! We had taken almost two hours to cover what the locals told us is the ‘warm-up’ session. How long for the first half? Our legs were giving in. My upper body was feeling like a 50KG sack of potatoes. This was indeed going to be a long afternoon.

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Check out for Dear Travel Diary: Into The Hills Part 2 to find out if we made it to the last hill. Or if some of us gave in and bowed out before the end. And the struggle with mud as we left departed.

– Sammy Aloyo

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