Nathan and Kenton Hills Hike #MtKenyaChallenge2017

After Kiima Kiu I realized my fitness levels were pathetic and Karura forest became my friend every Saturday and Sunday, this was not going to be an option if I was to complete the #mtkenyachallenge2017. I would try to hit a minimum of 8km either cycling or running. Let me tell you every week I would shed a kilo or more, I was dropping weight like it was hot… haha.

The second preparatory hike would be the Kenton and Nathan hills, these are named after the early settlers in the Kijabe area. We are picked up early in the morning, Duncan the CEO of Xtrym has become synonymous with “The bus leaves with or without you” so I do not try my owlish habits the night before hikes…

#mtkenyachallenge2017
Nathan Hills Photo credits: Ruskin Onyambu

We pick up other hikers along the way and head on our way to Kenton. We get a small break at the escarpments and get to take pictures with all smiley faces ‘the calm before the storm moments’. Our trip starts just before you get to Maai mahiu and boy oh boy is that hill steep.

I am wearing leather boots because in my head I am thinking they should be able to do the job, that’s what boots are for right? Wrong! Anyway I will tell you about them later. Our initial climb is gradual, since I know how crappy my fitness level is I am at peace sweeping guys from the back. The hill after the SGR gets very steep and thorny and just as you think you are about to get to the top you encounter another steep climb! The #MtKenyaChallenge2017 is not for the faint hearted, clearly!

SGR Railwayline, Kijabe. Photo credits: Ruskin Onyambu

This time I am already well acquainted with how Xtrym hikes go, and they do call for grit and resilience and in my head I have decided before I give up I would need to have fainted and totally immobile. I have fainted once when I skipped breakfast and lunch a long time ago and since that day I hardly play around with food, especially breakfast, let me get there late but I am not missing that, do not dare judge me!

We finally manage to get to the top of Nathan hill and we start to descend to start our ascend on Kenton hill, we meet a couple who have come to paraglide. The Wind seems strong enough to sustain a flight, we joke with them how they are crazy jumping off a cliff with that contraption, they retort how we are the crazy ones walking the whole day when you can fly and have all the view in 15 minutes *laughter*. We wish each other well and head on our way.

Going down the hill that is when I start bearing the brunt of my misplaced shoes. I curse myself for being so silly but then again, since choices have consequences I decide to carry my cross without bitching and whining about it. I don’t take “I told you so” very well…

We pass by Kijabe Mission Hospital and boy wouldn’t I love to work in such a serene environment, if I could make peace with needles I would become a doctor and find how I could get posted here. There are huge quarters with big windows on the balcony and living room which I presume must belong to guys working in the hospital.

Right after Kijabe town we begin a climb that takes us to our lunch point. When I have finished gobbling my snacks I pull my socks and fold them under my soles to get more padding. I can feel blisters forming and I don’t want them to start forming because at the end of the day I know I will get them.

The view is very scenic as we proceed the hike, we meet this old guy:

Him: Habari yenu?

Us: Mzuri sana!

Him: Mnaenda wapi?

Us: Tuko hike tunatembea

Him: Kutoka wapi?

Us: Kutoka huko Nathan hio barabara ya Narok sasa tunaenda huko ile pande ingine ya highway

Him: Na si mmechoka sana, mmekula? Kujeni mpewe ngwaci mpate nguvu kidogo.

Us: Asante sana, labda ile wakati ingine kama hatuna haraka. Bakia salama

Him: Pia nyinyi muende salama na muje kutusalimia tena.

Further up we meet a group of five to eight year olds, who look excited to see us and greet every single one of us. People out of Nairobi are really friendly, you need to reset your Nairobiness when you go out there, people are more trusting and friendly, which I find very refreshing every single time I go on a hike. The last climb must have been on a 700 incline. I would take five steps then rest up, the residents would pass us and tell us how they are used to the hill by now, I think to myself how fit they must be. If I lived here and forgot something say like my wallet in the house which was down that hill, there would be no way I would go back for it, I would have to pass by Njoro’s shop and ask for a soft loan till I retrieve my wallet.

When we finish the climb my legs are screaming but then again the ego tells my mouth to shut up! The remaining part before we get to the bus is fairly level ground and I am thankful for that. We finish earlier than usual and I get home when there is still light. When I remove my shoes I swear never to wear the wrong shoe for a hike, I was a fool so that you can learn. Wear the appropriate shoes for the appropriate occasion… The #MountKenyaChallenge2017 continued…

 


Also published on Medium.

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