When you hear ‘table’ you think of something flat or something close to that right? Well that is exactly what I had in mind when we set out for the Aberdares Table Mountain hike! Was it what I heard in mind? NO! Was it close at least? He he he maybe you wait a little bit because I will tell you. Ladies and gentlemen this was a table that I hadn’t seen before but I remembered having been told how these mountains surprise people every time so I warmed out to my surprise.
We eventually leave at 0500hrs and start our road trip. Somewhere along the way we get a view of a beautiful sunrise and just to mention the countryside view was to die for especially if the only thing you are used to is the chaotic Nairobi traffic.
Four hours from Nairobi city you turn off a tarmac road into a dusty road which leads you to Wanjohi which was to be our starting point. Table Mountain is one of the mountains in the Aberdares ranges and truth is altitude in the Aberdares is usually not loyal just so you know. One day you go and experience nothing then you return and altitude sickness takes toll on you. Somewhere on this ranges you will find Elephant Hills. I joined Keitan Safaris for this day hike also they are the same people I went with to Kijabe/Kinale Forest Hike.
As you turn into a half tarmac and dusty road you can see Table Mountain, when I saw it I felt scared and even had second thoughts of going up. Then it hit me I had not taken that long drive just to give up now.
We walk to our starting point and I come to a sudden stop because of the steep dusty slope that stared at me right in the face as if to tell me ‘You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you?’ I crane my neck and see a small river at the end and I know that is it. A few people find me standing there and all I heard was ‘Oh my God’ followed by Mercy screaming down the slope without breaks and someone at the front had to stop her. The fact that I am writing this means I made it to the other side.
Stretches are done and our hike begins.
Remember when I mentioned about how I interpreted a table? I was in shock when we started this. You do not even get a chance to adjust that you are going up a mountain. The steep start is really tough and I know of one lady who had given up and even offered to go back and wait for everyone else on the bus. Then from nowhere someone tells her she cannot go back because she doesn’t own that bus and I almost laughed. The look on her face made me smile she didn’t believe this reply then si you know that look of defeat someone wears? That was her face in summary. She overdoses on glucose (read cocaine) because the next time I saw her was when we summited. We continue with this difficult climb making small talks and taking photos because as we all know the Aberdares is really beautiful.
We finally get a flat part and before we could even live in the moment it ended. Like we always say adventure is not an adventure unless you get lost right? Part of our team got lost and all we could hear is them shouting somewhere deep in the forest. They eventually found their way and we went on climbing. This time it was dusty and for people, my height we walked through with a lot of ease. At this point I am laughing at tall people because of their complaints then I remind them how they constantly share memes about us. Something in me wants to tell them how Karma is serving them but I remember I am a good person so I smile and keep walking.
I don’t know when it happened exactly but I realised we were the last people. Those people I was to laugh at must have heard me laugh internally and decided to walk faster so that I couldn’t catch up with my small strides. Being the last people it got hard at times since a few of us wanted to give up but we had promised ourselves not to unless we had no other option. Biggest shout out to Chief Moses may God bless your soul for me yaani we got to a point where we yelled at this guy and even threatened to stop being friends with him if he doesn’t tell us the truth on how far we were from the summit. He was calm and he just stood there looking at us left with no words. All in all, he did not give up on us.
I have always underestimated stories but on this day these stories came through. I am the type of person who prefers walking silently and creating weird scenarios inside my head but on this day this did not happen. We had conversations with very amazing ladies, stopping once in a while to rest and take in the beauty we were walking through. One of us lifts her head and she shouts telling us she can see the summit and we all turn in unison and dearly beloved that summit stares at us with a lot of love as if to ask where we had been and why we took so long to get there. I wish she could talk though rather than just staring. Just before the summit or rather where we were seeing the summit from is the moorlands. The vegetation here is neatly arranged and you left wondering how it even happened but then there is always something about nature that we can never understand.
Getting to the summit is rather a hard rocky climb than I expected. It is tough for a very short distance that leaves you questioning why you have to go past that place anyway because one you can see the summit and you can talk to people already there. Finally after 4 hours we summit and as always my excitement is usually evident since I disapprove myself every time. Views from up here are therapeutic and everything is just too peaceful. I manage to spot the lady that wanted to go back and you my people will not believe it. She had summited long before us and was way more energetic than us who kept telling her that she can’t go back and even giving her reasons why she should summit. She looks at us and smiles probably saying thank you or something. We sit and have our snacks as we wait for Tonny as the others left. See Tonny is a man who refused to give up and just let this mountain embarrass him like that. He struggled but guess what he summited and we were all so happy for him.
We got too comfortable at the summit and it dawned on us we should leave when it started raining. We start descending and as usual it is always tough.
Still, this part is usually my worst because this hurts your knees and since table mountain is steep and the descent is not interesting. We take our time being tempted to sit once in a while and we all know the consequences of sitting, standing is usually a problem. Somewhere along the way, we meet cows which end up chasing us and everyone forgets how tired they are and we just run. Come to think of it, why did those cows chase us, or when you are a cow and a hiker at the same time you can just chase people? Do you feel like you are the King of cows or something better than that? Anyway, after falling sliding we eventually get to the bottom and all I wanted was to stretch my feet because as usual, my knees were not having a time of their life. This is like two hours later simply because we ran at some point downhill which I knew very well consequences were yet to come but all I wanted was to get down.
When we get to the bus people expected us to be tired but on the contrary, we were very energetic and danced all the way to the bus. We leave Wanjohi very happy people having humbled Table Mountain, some promised to go back but for me, I am not sure. After a late lunch at Swatch Place in Nairobi, we are dropped off at International life and this marks the end of this adventurous tiring day.
Biggest shout out also to Tonny you taught me something on this day as we went up this mountain. You are a real MVP and in my life on this earth may I never give up just like you didn’t despite being left behind and the guard having offered to take you back. I am proud of you plus seeing you dance after descent gave me joy.
Also to our guards continue being awesome people like you are special humans and to Keitan, thank you for making this happen, it is always a good time.
Till Next time;
Let us go on those adventures that scare us the most.
Photo credits- Brent Focus