Those are the exact words from Rono. Who thought one could start hiking in the afternoon? Well, time is a challenge for some of us. We are always late. We plan, we unplan and replan but somehow we are always late.
Sleeping warrior hills. Located in some place called Elementaita, sounds Maasai, right? Didn’t even bother to ask the meaning since, well, we were late and all the Morans had their spears outside their Manyattas.
The Journey took us West of Nairobi, (by now you should have oriented yourself with this amazing city). Took us about 2 hours, then, that’s when the journey began. We went offroad, somehow most of our activities end up in some remote dusty or muddy place depending on the season.
We had made calls earlier through some googled channel and the guy seemed so kind to tell us where to pass through till we get to him. He was to be our guide uphill. We all need some sort of support when having an uphill task, don’t we?
Well we arrived at some gate (Soysambu conservancy, if I remember correctly – I’ll check the photos later) and tried calling the guy, guess what? He didn’t answer. No no, not busy, just didn’t bother picking up his call. That’s when we thought our journey back to Nairobi would be frustrating and unsatisfying. You know, coming all this way and not hiking. Up to date I still don’t understand the energies in this crew, it’s 1:00 pm for Christ sake, the sun is overhead (that’s what geographers say) and we are located at the equator – let me not go into the details of equatorial science.
So we proceeded to the gate and luckily enough we found the GM. Yes, the Gate Manager, he gives us a number from the conservancy’s main office. Guess where it’s located? In Nairobi, yep, 100 Km from where we are standing. But then again we have kind and patient hearts in Kenya. So we ask the lady on the other side of the call what we can do and she tells us to give her a minute. It’s never a minute when someone says so. But again, patience plays a major role. She calls back and tells us that someone is coming in our direction and will be our guide for the day. Patience pays? You be the judge.
Another 30 mins of waiting and we get to meet this amazing charming lad called Mr. Rono. The greetings and introductions themselves crack a rib bone. Hilarious is an understatement. He tells us we are late so we will quickly do a warm up and then try the Moran by the Neck. That basically meant taking up a 60 degree climb within 10 mins.
20 meters away, it’s sweat and panting, a dog would think we are competing with them on a sunny day. Heavy breathing, knees cracking, yes, I could hear that too. Then worse, the guy tells us there are buffaloes and some other wild animals.
So let me explain the situation here. There are two guys holding a gun and they are both running uphill. Who would want to stay behind and face one of the big five. Sisi haooo! pushing uphill.
I think it’s our mistake because we indicated that the hill is a mild challenge on our advertising brochure. To add to that, we told Rono we are always fit for a challenge. 100 meters in and some could barely breathe, let alone walk. You call it squats, well we have a term for it, it’s called skwembe. They are aching, burning, what other term can I use?… just fill the blank. That’s like a third of the distance covered. Still more and no one is willing to escort me back. Teary eyes. He tells us not to look back since you might get dizzy, yet that is where the view is beautiful. So we sit down, lower the panting rate a bit and look back.
Oh My what? Depends on who you believe in. Well for me it’s Oh My God! that view. The lake at a distance then the pink features at the edge of the lake, (Flamingoes). then the sky. That is beauty, not some bleached girls’ skin.
At this point Rono misjudged some of us. He had already profiled us. Body size, too heavy to climb. Skin colour, too light to climb. All in a funny way though. And also we are easy people…no hard feelings. Speaking for myself hehe.
About a kilometre up, we get the best of the two sides of the hill. It has a crater and there are animals grazing down there. Wild animals, not your local zebu cow. The grass is tall enough to hide a predator. But, we only fear buffaloes. Plus, we got guns.
We sit there for like 20 mins, some need more time to catch a breath. Pictures, selfies then we hit the road downhill. Let’s see who’s skwembe can hold the stretch. My friends from Western Kenya are usually blessed in this sector, right from birth. That’s what the in-laws check to confirm their own. Nuh, just kidding.
We saw the lake from up there so that’s where we are headed. Can’t stop us. We try to get what we want.
The lake has hot springs at the edge. Flamingoes are feeding on whoever knows what at a distance. Swans are swimming closer to the shores, yes, you heard me right, we’ve got white Swans here. People are crowded on these springs, some washing clothes, some taking photos, some swimming along the shores, school kids amazed and happy about getting out of the boring school compound.
We hear good music at a distance, should we camp?