It’s the eve of the travelling day for the #MtKenyaChallenge2017, everything is ready and it’s a matter of repacking and checking that you don’t leave something that might be crucial. From Ngong hills we had been advised to pack all that we need to in a polythene/ zip lock bags because rains were forecast. After three rechecks that everything is in order people start sharing their packed bags. This is where the funny bones of the team start coming out, anything that could be made fun of was made fun of like Abraham’s glow in the dark floater sandals, they were likely to stress wildlife in the park, they would require therapy afterwards haha.
Meeting time is 5.30 to leave at six and unlike all the other hikes this falls on a weekday. I wake early and take my time to prepare and take breakfast, at around 5.30am I call Jeremy to find out how far he and Habbakuk are, about six of us were to be picked along the way, I miss him and try out Habba who tells me to chill since the guys in town are still not ready to leave. I relax and request an uber, 30 seconds later the driver cancels, I request the second one, he calls me and confirms he will be there in a few, at 5.45am I check my app, shock on me, the second guy has cancelled as well! 😣. I decide to call Njoro the cab guy even though he will charge more he is asleep and at 6.00am sharp he picks me up, on the way Jeremy returns my call and tells me that guys in town had not left, they were waiting for Bonita who was running a bit late. I take a huge breath and thank my lucky stars that would have been close because when traffic on that route piles up it piles…. 6.10 I get for the meeting point with two bags weighing 15 kilos each looking like I am about to run away and never come back! Duncan comes shortly after followed by Jeremy, as if on cue when Flo and her sisters show up the bus arrives. Robert helps the driver stack up our bags and we are well on our way.
The reality that this is going to happen starts then to slowly sink, the morning has beautiful clear blue sky and as we had prayed, we hope it remains as such for the coming five days. We would make a stop over at Sagana for breakfast so for people who were too tired we would play pranks, I wish I had face paint because there were loads of canvas on that bus….
We make a stop at this hotel at Sagana to have our breakfast. We make our orders and everything became somewhat chaotic, there were more than enough waiters but it seemed like they had never had so many numbers for breakfast. You could get a Sausage and the tea takes another ten minutes to come. I make an order of samosas and just as I am about to devour it, Olive asks “do you trust the meat?” 🤔. That hit me right between the eyes, why would we come to a place that we couldn’t trust the meat? I swallowed my samosa quickly before the meat heard what we were saying about it. When Bonita got her two orders of samosas served Duncan passed by and exclaimed “If I were you I couldn’t eat the samosas!” She pushes one to me and removes the meat in the other and eats the crust alone. I eat that second samosa and go to the gents to stock on some tissue just to be safe should all the things that were being said about the meat come true. But heads up should be given before not after your order yes? Olive unaskia?
We get back to the bus and continue on, but not before Wabbie sampled the trampoline, this girl has so much soul, as the rest of us were fretting about 1♫Don’t panic, don’t panic We just getting started don’t panic♫ the fun aspect of this trip she was taking all opportunity to do something exciting and go “yippieee I’m loving this” and from the look of it she was living every single word of it. A few moments after we leave my seat breaks! I know I’m heavy but could it be possible that the samosas were causing this?
Just before we get to Nanyuki we stop at the equator, the equator! Like in the middle of the North and South, like if you wanted to share the earth to two people this is where you would cut it into two equitable portions, hahaha okay I’m done. Guys are taught about something about geography but I am more interested in taking pictures and testing to see if my cells would as well do the clockwise and anticlockwise spins that I get dizzy… Sadly it didn’t happen.
We another stop over at Nakumatt Nanyuki to allow people get what they might have forgotten. I get some elastoplast and Lucozade (Robert explained the importance of having electrolytes to restore the balance in your system because when you take a lot of water the salts would get diluted, profound ey? I thought so too and hence I had to get me some you don’t want to have your batteries running low on electrolytes…).
About 1pm we get to the Sirimon gate, the mountain is visible and we get the last chance to turn back. We unload the bus and have our lunch, we are then paired with a porter who would help you out with the second bag and get acquainted well with them. I had forgot to carry my bucket hat which I never leave I had to go and borrow some sunscreen from Brian, by the look of things a tan would be inevitable, I’d come out looking like dark chocolate… #petty.
We do some warm-ups to get the muscles supple and ready, as we started to acclimatise for the mountain. Beatrice our in-house fitness ninja started us off then Robert took over and made do some kick ass poses, as we did the crow pose I think I heard a a few farts rip through the air, but since we had been told about high altitude flatulence, belching and farts would be the order of the day it was encouraged not to hold back hahahaha.
Inside the park we find tarmac which we are told would take up to the first camp, I was disappointed to say the least, the image that had been painted in my head was a guy in front with a machete chopping through the bamboo and rainforests to make way as we went up, how can they have tarmac?
The altitude sickness started lurking and Nnena was the first one it chose. Now the fantasies in my head started getting overwritten with hard reality. As dusk started approaching a cold draught started coming down from the mountain and Duncan warned it would get really chilly into the night, I hurry up and catch up with Tanya who is visibly enjoying the beautiful sunset and we head into old Moses.
Old Moses is a log cabin that has dorms with beds and mattresses, your sleeping bag becomes your bedding. I had heard how cold it gets so I choose a bed that would be sandwiched I’m between two other warm bodies, smart yes? I’ll tell you about it in a second.
Since the were no hot showers we carried baby wipes, this I must admit was a first for me. I decide to do my business now because there was no #@**#@ way I was letting the freezing cold wipes touch my body in the morning.
We find these two gents cooking with those small portable gas containers, these were there real hikers. One of them who I find out is an experienced climber tells us he planned to do Batian peak and map a new route, he is barely legal at 18 and tells us that he has been doing this since he was 14! Wow! I am just wowed. I ask for his name, and find out if he documents his climbs and tells me he has a YouTube channel, which I cram since my phone died. So here is a short video of this guy, Peter Naituli, I admire his bravery. I hope when I grow up I will climb Batian with picks and ropes as he described it, maybe in my fertile imagination, I will! Haha.
We get some hot tea, popcorns and biscuits, which I ate like there was no food coming, you never know with these things you know. A card game called Haikuhusu (It doesn’t concern you) was played and Abraham and Habbakuk were the two most frustrated players as they bore the brunt, every time they questioned a move, “Haikuhusu” was shouted hahaha. The rest of us just watched from a far.
Dinner gets served, and boy oh boy, these guys had prepared roast potatoes, panfried fish with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian stew options. I now regretted gobbling so much popcorn, but you see I needed my reserves full, you don’t want to deal with my moods when I am hungry, I get very irritable and nobody got time for that…
Ivy gets out a Kenyan version of Charades and this one did not have Haikuhusu in it. I really struggled giving descriptions since it was my first time playing, as for Ivy, Ken, Miriam, Rachel, Habba and Jeremy they were really good at giving descriptions and answers especially on the Kenyan history, Politics and Sports, these were people who were clearly in the know…
We retire to bed and now I realise how a sleeping bag restricts your comfort especially if you are accustomed to occupying the whole bed in the arms crossed to support your head and legs spread out position…. The wind that passed through the cracks of the wooden cabin was chilling, it took me a cool 30 minutes to get warmed up properly and start dozing, this for someone who zones out in 3 seconds after getting into bed was new. The wind was whistling through the wooden spaces throughout the night and I felt somewhat like I was mummified…. #MtKenyaChallenge2017 continued….
Also published on Medium.