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THE TUMBLEWEED

by Rose Waswa

At Least I remember my Geography. The sun is hotter than you can imagine at this time of the year.  But our spirits are high, no drugs. We have to hike this month. At least that’s what The Trek is all about. Sweating. Pushing those muscles to some sort of limit, socializing. Meeting strange people with the hope of creating more friends. 

So what’s the plan then? Our initiative is to travel on most weekends, but then we can’t coz of other commitments so we secluded the 3rd Saturday for such activities. At least for myself I blocked out any stuff other than The Trek events.

So where are we heading this weekend? See, I have kids so only work related sleepovers are allowed (if there is such a thing). So let’s try and limit ourselves to a day’s trip, by evening I should be at home, else I will not be smiled at.

I think Kilimambogo sounds great. It’s only an hour or so from Nairobi. (if you are able to beat the traffic). It’s high enough to make you sweat. We are about 10 people so we can get 2 or 3 cars and drive there without a hustle. 

Ebu amka! Damn you, we just had a few hours of shut eye. But my friends and I have to prepare snacks for the crew, I oblige. I choose to maintain this circle for the day. You’ll understand why a bit later. Wink wink. The thought of conquering Ol Donyo Sabuk is motivation enough. We find ourselves at the meeting point, TRM – some mall on Thika Road. The whole crew is already there. You should see the smiles! Meet and greet. Newbies in the HOUSE!!!! Now you know us Kenyans and English. Visitors either means one of us has to translate or some of us have less to say.  Smooth drive, with lots of laughter and a good chunk of what others would see as expensive. We roll with it. PS; If ever you see a large group of noisy people with red, black, grey t-shirts with an African print, forgive us. The Trek is the one day in a month some of us get to be free of work, family, school, life, you name it.

We arrive at the foothills. Group photo and catching up while the concerned parties, sort the entrance fee. We get advice from the rangers, and off we go! Don’t worry, we all have drinking water, with the elite wearing sunglasses, hats and makeup. (Don’t you dare ask who wore what!) 😉Ever notice how at the beginning of every hike, there is a LARGE NOISY group. Then the noise reduces and the smaller groups start to form. Hehe. The ascension begins steadily. We reach the first clearing with ease. And yes, since I’m that good, I find myself with Eunice and Nancy being the last trio immediately after. 

Now, Oldonyo Sabuk may also be called “Kilima Mbogo” which literally means Buffalo Hill. Common sense dictates that the slow species gets to be caught first. I rest in the assurance that I can outrun these two hence my safety is guaranteed. After 45 minutes. We can’t hear any other group. Basically, we are alone. We become cautious and keep telling jokes but to be honest, after our Ol Pejeta experience with a Rhino and a herd of buffaloes, we sure don’t want to view any game, not even a fluffy rabbit with a rainbow tail. Maybe a unicorn, I heard they are real. 

Amid sweat, dust, fatigue and retreating complaints we arrive at the murram road. This is definitely not what I thought this hike would be. Where is the picnic site? I try and ignore the questions while pointing out to the nice road. A photo shoot would be nice. One is laughing, the other is panting.

It is at this point that you should google for a tumbleweed in action. PWA HA HA HA! I just see one of them roll down the hillside. I kid you not. A root protruding from the ground is what caught her. Hair, cap, tights, shirt, all have this distinct brown. It does not help that she is very light. Her hands and face look like she is using a foundation that is 50 shades darker than her skin tone. 

Are those tears? Yes. Of laughter!!!! We half laugh half say sorry. But the laughter is louder. She collapses and we let her be for a while to gain her breath and footing. Lucky for us, we have bananas and oranges. Biology taught me well. We decide to have a mid-hike picnic. I gather we spent at least 15 minutes there. On the assurance that we have covered two thirds of the hike, we proceed. But now, more cautious. The “faller-one who had fallen” (tha hell i’m I saying?) says a prayer to God. 

Guess what! A car comes climbing the hill, one look at the puppy faces (No not me) and they decide to give us a LIFT! Talk about being blessed. Instant answer from God. Well this is a first. One challenge though. We have to bypass the crew and arrive at the peak. We try covering our faces while inside the car but one outsider noticed and signaled the rest. We had to alight to join them after thanking the good Samaritan. We slowly but surely made our way to the top. Of course, we still maintained our position, The Last Trio! We enjoyed some good time at the top. 

Had a few snacks then proceeded down. By the way, have you ever noticed how the weight of any luggage is directly proportional to the distance covered at any given time? The small jackets on our waists/empty water bottles and upper torso somehow became heavier as we went about the hike. We did not see any Buffalo, just some dung, but we don’t mind. Who in their right mind wants to see one while hiking?

Will we do this again? CERTAINLY! Every third Saturday of every month. Not for the soreness of the muscles in the legs and all, BUT for the soreness of the diaphragm and cheeks from the laughter! Cheers!

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